hDisclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd

Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

The fanfic as requested by Lianne, the winner of my Matt/Tai friendship fic contest. Hope you like it, Lianne, and your dorm buddies! ^_^

Of Crimson Blood and Handguns

By Nanaki Lioness

"So did you do that Math homework last night?"

"…what Math homework?"

Matt sighed and rolled his eyes. "The Math homework that got set when you were probably sleeping or something…?"

"Oh…" Tai grinned, turning his gaze to Matt imploringly.

"You owe me," Matt said simply, opening up his backpack and handing his Math book to Tai.

"I always owe you," Tai stated, placing Matt's book in his bag, as the school they were in the process of walking to neared in the distance.

"Maybe if you started doing your work, you might pass our exams," Matt suggested. "And you'd also stop owing me favors."

Tai laughed. "That reminds me, I have a meeting with the Principal this morning at half eight…My grades are slipping again, apparently, and he wants to see me."

"Your grades always slip, ever year, around soccer try-outs," Matt mused, grinning slightly. He looked at his watch, and then Tai. "And it was half eight two minutes ago, so maybe you'd better get going. I'll catch you and my Math book up in registration period."

"Sure!" Tai agreed. "Catch ya later!"

With that, he set off running to the school, whilst Matt just grinned and shook his head.

. . . . . . . . . .

"Is that the guy?"

"I think so. Tall, blonde and thin. Seems to be."

"Seems to be? We can't get the wrong guy, Kyoudan."

"We won't, Hitosarai. Look at the photograph. It's him."

"What was the kid's name again?"

"Ishida Yamato."

. . . . . . . . . .


Matt stopped in his tracks, wincing at the high pitched shriek that had almost half-deafened him. Turning round, he saw June Motimiya running towards him.

"Hey June," he said. "What is it, I'm going to be late for school…"

"Matt, I haven't seen you in ages!" June shrieked again, running at him full pelt and hugging him fiercely. Matt laughed slightly and tried to push her off of him.

"Since last night when you followed me home, you mean," he said, succeeding in pushing her away. She didn't look offended; simply smiled at him some more and made his stomach turn.

"It seems like an eternity…" June said, smiling sickly-sweetly at him.

"Heh, yeah, great," Matt said. "I have to go now, June. I have to meet Tai, at school and-"

"I get the picture," June said, still smiling. "See you later, Matt!"

With that, she ran off, leaving Matt to sigh in relief and carry on his walk to school.

Only, as he turned, he found he couldn't. Two men blocked his path, both in black suits and smiling in such a way that it immediately un-nerved him.

"Can I help you…?" He asked, frowning suspiciously.

"Maybe," one of the men, a tall dark eyed brunette, said. "Are you Yamato?"

"Yes…" Matt answered warily.

The man bowed to him. "I'm Kyoudan. This is Hitosarai." He gestured to the man standing beside him, an oriental man with black hair and hazel eyes. "We're co-workers of your father. He asked to pick you up from school tonight, because he's going to be working late."

"Oh?" Matt said, raising an eyebrow. "He never told me that."

"He asked us to tell you," Hitosarai filled in. "He only got given this story this morning, as he arrived. We were passing this way, and we're here all day, so we offered to pick you up as a favor."

"I normally walk home," Matt stated firmly.

"Tonight, he wanted you home early," Kyoudan said, narrowing his eyes slightly. "He wanted you to study for your exams, and not go to Tai's house."

Matt relaxed a little, and smiled. "Sure. Okay, then. Say hi to Dad if you see him."

"Will do," Kyoudan said, bowing slightly. "See you after school, Yamato."

"Call me Matt," the blonde said before smiling and walking around them towards the school.

When he was out of hearing range, Hitosarai turned to Kyoudan, smiling slightly.

"Pure genius," he whispered.

"Thank you," Kyoudan said. "I figured he knows someone named Tai, because he said he was going to meet him. And, he trusted us after I said that."

"He was too skeptical," Hitosarai said, crossing his arms. "He won't come with us. I think he just agreed so we'd let him go."

"Oh, he'll come with us. Don't worry, 'Sarai. He'll come, even if we have to use force."

"You know we'll probably have to use force anyway, 'Youdan."

Kyoudan shrugged, grinning. "You know it's what I do best. After all-wait a minute!" He pointed forward, smiling slightly. Hitosarai followed his finger. "Maybe we can learn a few more things about this kid…let's get a bit closer, behind the trees, so he can't see us…"

. . . . . . . . . .


Tai looked up from what he was writing, grinning slightly. He was sitting on the wall outside the school, Matt's Math book laid out next to him and his own Math book in his lap. He was furiously scribbling notes out in his usual spider-crawl.

"What happened to your meeting?" Matt inquired, sitting down next to his friend.

Tai shrugged. "I've heard his 'soccer is not as important as course work' rant a thousand times already. I figured getting this homework done-"

"Copied, you mean."

"Whatever. I figured it was more important."

Matt sighed and shrugged, sitting down on the wall beside his friend. They were silent for a moment, until Tai looked up from his note writing, catching his friend's eye.

"Did you talk to TK yet...?" He ventured slowly. Matt shook his head.

"No. I tried calling him last night and he hung up on me."

Tai smiled. "He'll come through. You know he will."

Matt sighed heavily, staring at the floor. "I know," he said softly. "But, TK and I...we never argue, Tai. And I don't want us to start now."

"Bit late for that," Tai said, grinning slightly.

"Hmm. " Matt didn't smile at the comment, and the brunette beside him sighed.

"Maybe you should try and find him now," he suggested. Matt shook his head.

"What good would it do? He doesn't want to talk to me; he's made that clear..."

"What the heck did you guys argue about anyway?" Tai asked, closing his note book and putting his pen down.

Matt shrugged. "It was stupid, really. He just wanted to spend more time with me, and I tried explaining that I can't right now. I've got exams to revise for, coursework to do, band practice...and when I get home, I have homework and more revision, and I have to cook and clean...I can't seem to find much free time these days. Tonight's the only time I have free, and Dad wants me to study at home tonight, not at yours."

"Well, you can hardly blame him, can you?" Tai said, grinning a little. "We end up playing games more than we study."

"Yeah, but he sent some guys from his work place to come pick me up. He couldn't even do it himself..."

"You know he's busy," Tai admonished. "Why don't you go see TK instead?"

"I can't, I told you; he's arranged with some of his work colleagues to pick me up."

"Well, un-arrange it with them, Matt!"

Matt shook his head. "No, Tai. I'll find TK in my lunch break and sort things out. I-"

"Yagami Taichi!!"

Tai looked panicked as he realized the Principal was walking towards him, looking less than amused.

"Damn!" He muttered, throwing all the books, including Matt's, into his bag.

"Hey!" Matt protested, seeing the treatment his math book was getting. "Careful with that!"

Tai shrugged what he considered an apology, before running to the Principal. Matt grinned a little and followed him without the haste.

Seeing a familiar person heading in his direction, although not to him, he smiled slightly and run forward, finding something to hurry for.

"TK!" He called.

The younger blonde, who had been staring at the floor when his older brother had called to him, mentally cursed upon hearing his name. He stopped, rolling his eyes, letting his older brother run up to him.

"What?" TK said flatly when Matt reached his side.

"TK, just let me explain..." Matt pleaded. "I know you think I'm avoiding you or something, but I'm not, really!"

TK didn't say anything, but he was clearly not impressed.

"TK, I'm trying! It's just... I have to revise for my exams-"

"You can do that at my house. I can help you."

"I have to clean-"

"Not every day."

"I have to cook for Dad-"

"He's capable of micro-waving something."

"My band practice-"

"Doesn't last all evening, and it isn't every night!" TK said, throwing his arms in frustration. "Matt, all I'm asking for is one night with you!"

"I don't have the time, TK... Not really..."

"You've been with Tai a lot," TK pointed out.

"Yes, because if I don't, he won't do any revision. He doesn't touch his textbooks unless I'm there forcing him to."

"You guys could both come to mine!" TK said, almost frantic. "I could help you both! You know, test you and stuff..."

Matt smiled slightly. "That'd be okay."

"Tonight?" TK asked hopefully. Matt sighed, shaking his head.

"I can't. Dad's arranged to have me picked up by a couple of his work colleagues. He wants me home."

"Oh..." TK said sadly, sighing. "Well... I guess I'll see you around..."

"Don't be sad, TK..." Matt asked pleadingly. "I would if I could..."

"Yeah, I know. Don't worry about it."

There was a silence between the two for a moment, which was punctuated by the sound of the school bell ringing- signaling them to go to their registration rooms. Matt sighed and walked away, without another word to his younger brother.

TK watched him leave, not attempting to stop him. Instead, he turned and walked solemnly away in the opposite direction.

. . . . . . . . . .

By the end of the day arrived, Matt had landed himself a detention the following day for failing to listen repeatedly in classes. His last teacher of the day, his Physics teacher, had lost patience with his attention constantly wandered and had given him two verbal warnings within the first ten minutes. When that didn't work, she simply gave him an after-school detention.

Much to her annoyance, all that did was raise his interest for the minute she was ranting at him velocity and how important it was and how he should listen. Then he went back to gazing out the window.

"I don't get it," Tai was saying as they walked out the classroom. "You've never got a detention before!"

"Tell me about it," Matt said, clutching tightly at the detention slip, neatly folded and placed in a business-sized manila envelope.

"I normally get detentions, Matt, not you! Not matter what's on your mind, you always seem to look like you're listening!"

"My Dad's gonna kill me..." Matt said softly, his knuckles white from where he was gripping the letter.

"What the heck were you so pre-occupied with anyway?" Tai questioned, opening a door they had come to, holding it for them to pass through.

"TK," Matt answered simply. "We spoke earlier, and we managed to come to some form of arrangement. But, he wanted to see me tonight, and he can't. Those guys are picking me up to take me home... Even though Dad probably won't even be home early tonight…"

"So maybe your Dad won't get to see that detention slip," Tai pointed out.

"I'll get in even more trouble if I don't get it signed."

Tai rolled his eyes, taking the envelope from his friend and ripping it open. He took it out and pulled a pen from his pocket. He handed it to Matt and placed the form down on a nearby heater top.

"Sign," he ordered.


"Sign it, Matt!"

"You do it!" Matt retorted. "I'm not taking the blame for this one!"

"You know your Dad's signature better than me!" Tai insisted.

Matt stared at him a moment before sighing and placing pen to paper, quickly signing something that resembled his father's signature. Then he stuffed the letter back in the envelope and placed it in his pocket.

"Let's go," he said. "I'd better not keep Dad's friends waiting."

. . . . . . . . . .

It didn't take him long to find the vehicle he was looking for; the van was metallic black with darkened windows. Sighing heavily, he began walking to it.


He turned to see TK running toward him.

"Matt, please come home with me tonight," he brother pleaded before he had even reached the older blonde's side.

Matt shook his head. "I told you, I can't, TK…"

TK sighed, but narrowed his eyes at the same time in slight annoyance.

"You'll regret this, you know," he said angrily. "I can't see why you would put Dad's wants above your own, especially when he's never here anyway!"


"No, Matt!" TK near-shouted, throwing his arms up in frustration. "It's not fair!! You always do what Dad wants, but when does he ever do anything you want for you? Huh?!"

Matt pulled his gaze away from his brother's seething gaze.

"Bye, TK," he said simply, walking away.

"If that's how you want it, fine!" TK yelled after him. "I don't need you anyway!"

With that, he ran in the opposite direction, leaving Matt to gaze over his shoulder and make his way to the blacked-out van sorrowfully.

The sliding side door of the van was opened for him as he approached it, indicating it was defiantly the right vehicle. Kyoudan was waiting in there, smiling as he approached. As he got in, he could see Hitosarai in the driver's seat.

"Afternoon Yamato," Kyoudan greeted him; Matt ignoring the use of his full name. "Good day at school?"

Matt shrugged. "Not bad." Other than the argument with my brother, the detention, and the fact I've learnt nothing from being so distant…? Fine apart from that, thanks.

Hitosarai started the engine as Matt fastened his seatbelt, sighing and slouching back in his chair slightly. Soft strands of music played throughout the vehicle quietly, the radio station tuned in simply for a slight noise and not for listening to. Yet Matt closed his eyes and let himself relax, wanting the ten minutes drive home to pass quickly.

Yet, after about five minutes, he opened his eyes to see they most defiantly weren't on the route home. His heart leapt to his throat, and he sat up fully to look through the windows.

"What's the matter?" Kyoudan asked.

"This isn't the way home," Matt stated matter-of-factly.

"It is when I'm driving," Hitosarai stated curtly.

Matt looked set to protest, but a look from Kyoudan closed his mouth instantly.

"We're not going 'home'," the man said bluntly. "We're going somewhere else."

Matt didn't reply, terror slowly sinking into his mind.

"W-where?" He asked, his voice shaking slightly in fear. He cursed himself for it, as he saw a smile grow on Kyoudan's lips.

"Somewhere," he answered. "You needn't know."

With that, he jumped forward too quickly for Matt to react, slamming a metal bar across his cheekbone. It cracked viciously, and Matt cried out in horror. Pain swept through him like a fire in his veins, and another blow to the side of his head knocked him out completely.

. . . . . . . . . .

Darkness. It swallowed up every ounce of light, banishing it back to the holy lands and beyond, smothering all it could in black, dismal tresses. Not even artificial light was evident anywhere, the small room midnight in color.

Matt kept his eyes shut, to keep the darkness out, even though the inside of his eyelids were dark too. Anything was better than the darkness out there…

He strained his ears, listening for noises, anything to alert him to the presence of another, and he sighed quietly in relief when he heard none. The pitch around him did not help him determine the time, so he had no idea how long he had already been unconscious. Not that he was looking.

No; he kept his blue eyes tightly shut.

He could feel his face bleeding. If his hands and arms hadn't been chained to the wall he was currently sitting up against, he would have wiped it off, and prevented it from dripping onto his clothes. He could feel it, running down his face in a small, thick crimson river, collecting on his chin and dripping onto his sleeveless shirt. He was powerless to stop it. His cheekbone was throbbing painfully, and he knew it was at least fractured if nothing else.

He slowly opened his eyes, just a crack, still afraid of what he might see in front of him. But when all he could see was darkness, he opened them fully and tried to adjust.

After a few moments, he could make out a vague silhouette of his legs, stretched out in front of him. When he tried to pull them to his chest, he felt the resistant tug of a chain, keeping them far from him.

He let his head tip back to rest against the wall, sighing heavily. He had to be strong. He couldn't break down and become weak, spirit and body broken. He refused to let that happen.

He could still feel the blood on his face, and he tried to touch his shoulder to the cut to dry it. But the moment the soft material of his shirt touched it, he hissed in pain and pulled his shoulder back.

It hadn't helped. He felt the cut that had begun to heal open again, and blood poured down his face without mercy. He was pretty sure his clothes were stained crimson by now, and his body would be black and blue later to match.

"Damn you…" he muttered beneath his breath, afraid of being heard. "Damn you."

"Isn't talking to yourself the first sign of madness?"

The owner of the voice flicked a light switch, flooding light into the room. Matt closed his eyes hurriedly, feeling them sting from such a contrast in brightness.

"So you're awake, finally."

He glanced up past his half-lidded eyes to see Kyoudan walking across the room to him. "I was beginning to think you weren't ever going to wake up."

"How long have I been out?" Matt asked, lowering his eyes to the floor. The blood was still bleeding from the wound on his cheek, and it dripped slowly onto the floor. He closed his eyes, feeling sick to his stomach.

"About half an hour."

Kyoudan took a few steps towards him and grabbed a handful of his hair, pulling his face up to meet his gaze. Matt squeezed his eyes shut in pain, but didn't utter a sound.

Before he could react, Kyoudan's hand had lashed out across his already injured face, irritating the wound that hadn't stopped bleeding further and causing him to yelp in pain.

"Stop bleeding all over my floor," the man said, spite high in his voice. "How inconsiderate. I'm going to have to clean that up."

Matt kept his eyes closed, his mind reeling. He was helpless. The most annoying part of the whole charade was that he didn't know why this was happening.

"What do you want with me…?" He asked softly.

Kyoudan shrugged, grinning slightly.

"That's for you to find out later. It is none of your concern."

With that, he turned and walked out the room, flicking the light switch off again. The room was again plunged into darkness, which Matt was almost grateful for.

Make it all go away… Please, someone, help me…

I don't understand. Why lie to me? Why tell me they work with my Dad? Why do this at all?

Too many questions, and no answers for them…

Through all his thoughts, the hot blood still dripped from his slowly healing cut. Sighing, he resolved to let it do so, knowing there was no way he could stop it.

Maybe I'll bleed to death. Or better yet, starve to death. Or maybe I'll dehydrate…

And maybe I'll stop over-exaggerating. They want me for something; they wouldn't let me die!

Would they…?

. . . . . . . . . .

Tai stamped his foot impatiently, crossing his arms in disdain. Matt was ten minutes late to meet him; they walked to school together in the mornings.

It's not like him to be late…

He had tried ringing his friend's mobile, but it rang constantly with nobody answering it. He had tried a barrage of text messages; some nice, some not so nice. No-one was picking up at Matt's house, either.

If he leaves it much longer, I'm going to have to go without him…

He considered calling TK, to see if he knew where Matt was, but he wasn't sure if they were even talking yet.

Shrugging, he began to walk alone, texting Matt as he walked.

See you at school, Matt… I can't wait any longer. Let me know if you're sick or something. Tai.

. . . . . . . . . .

He wasn't sure if it was morning or not when he awoke; all he knew was it was dark, and he was hurting. His head was pounding harshly, reminding of the injuries he had sustained the day before. He opened his eyes slowly, yet the room was still dark. There were no windows; just midnight. I don't understand… Why…?

He tried to shift positions, but his head was hurting too much. The cut on his face had stopped bleeding at some point, but he could feel his face was tight with dried blood, and his clothes were crimson in places.

He heard a door open, somewhere in his mind, yet he didn't know if it was the door to his room.

Footsteps, getting closer. Oh, God…

"Morning, Yamato."

The voice belonged to Kyoudan, he knew, and he opened his eyes slowly. As he did, his captor placed a tray down in front of him.

Matt would have done a double-take had his head not been hurting so much. The tray was silver, with a teapot and a holder of toast sitting on it. Various other breakfast essentials sat on it, waiting for him.

He couldn't believe it. One minute, they were beating him, and the next treating him as royalty?

This just doesn't make sense!

"I need you to talk to me, Yamato."

Matt looked up at him, his eyelids heavy even though he had just woken up.

"I need some answers."

Matt opened his mouth to answer 'so do I', but his throat was too dry. He swallowed a couple of times, trying to moisten it.

Kyoudan was a step ahead of him; he poured some coffee from the teapot and produced a key to Matt's handcuffs. He unlocked his right hand and handed him the mug. Matt gratefully took it, sipping it gently. Finding that it was a drinkable temperature, he downed the mug quickly before it could be taken from him. He deliberately neglected to tell Kyoudan that he didn't like coffee without sugar and milk- in fact, didn't go much on it at all- but he wasn't going to turn down the one piece of kindness he was suddenly being offered.

"I want answers," Kyoudan stated again, taking the mug from Matt and instantly chaining him back up again. "Give me answers, and I'll feed you."

I knew there would be a catch…

"What answers?" He asked softly.

"To my questions. Your father. He's been given a new case at the TV station. He's been covering news about the murder of a man in Kyoto, and he's digging in quite close. It's been revealed in the station that they suspect it was a drug related killing. Now, we don't want him getting too cozy, Yamato."

"You mean… Y-you-"

"Quiet," Kyoudan snapped. "We don't want your father to discover the truth. If he were to do so, we would have to dispose of him, and of you. So, we want to know, Yamato. We need details about what he's found."

Matt stared at the man before him, his mind reeling. He knew nothing of a murder, let alone that his father was covering the case.

"I don't know anything about it," he answered honestly. "I-I don't know what you're talking about-"


That metal bar- the vicious, solid cold metal bar that had caused his earlier injury- came crashing down where he had begun to heal, re-opening the cut and stinging harshly.

"I mean it!" Matt said, his voice terror-filled. "Dad doesn't talk to me about work! We barely talk about anything, let alone his work!"

The bar hit again, harder, and Matt felt the world spin with his head. He closed his eyes, keeping his lips tightly sealed no matter how much he wanted to scream. The blows weren't that forceful- if they were, he would have had a few more fractured bones to match his cheekbone by now- but they stung and ached.

"Doesn't that make you remember?" Kyoudan spat angrily.

"I don't remember because I was never told," Matt whispered.

"Defiant," Kyoudan stated. He swung the bar one more time, though Matt didn't respond; his body was already numb with pain and shock. Then Kyoudan and the metal bar were gone, the silver tray of food still taunting him in front of him. He ignored it; he couldn't reach it anyway. The light switch had been kept on, as though the man had wanted him to be taunted by it.

Oh God… Oh *God*… Someone… Someone please help me…

. . . . . . . . . .

TK sighed, disconnecting the call he was trying to make before he had even started dialing.

I'm not going to give in and call him. He can call me first.

"Hey, TK!"

Turning, he saw Tai running towards him. He placed his phone back in his bag and grinned.

"Hey Tai," he greeted as his friend stopped by his side, grinning.

"I have a question for you," the brunette stated. "You and Matt. Good terms yet or not?"

TK shrugged.

"Good as that, huh?"

TK shrugged again. "Kinda. Why?"

"He hasn't turned up at school today. He didn't let me know he wasn't going to meet me this morning to walk, he's not answering his phone or text messages…"

TK looked at Tai, seeing his friend was concerned, but didn't respond.

"What do you think?" Tai asked.

"I think he's probably sulking," TK said a tad spitefully. "He isn't talking to anyone, and that includes you, because he doesn't want you to lecture him or me to be with you or something. That's what I think."

Tai raised an eyebrow.

"You think?" He said doubtfully.

"You asked my opinion, Tai. That's what I think. I wouldn't worry about him."

Tai sighed, smiling at the younger boy. "I guess you're right. I'll pop by his house tonight when I leave, to see if he's sick. He may be sleeping."

"Yeah, maybe."

Seeing that he wasn't going to get any more answers from TK, Tai made his excuses and left.

Something isn't right. When TK sees this, he'll help me.

…Or rather, he'd better do. This is his brother and my best friend. I know he's probably sick and sleeping-

But then again, he may not be…

Damn, this is confusing…

He's fine. He's perfectly all right. He has to be.

. . . . . . . . . .

He had no clue how long had passed. He was wide awake, his gaze fixed on things he didn't register he was looking at. He half wished the light had been turned out, so he wouldn't have to look at all.

He was certain now that he would have bruises and cuts. The bleeding from his cheekbone had stopped some time back, but the hot liquid had stained his clothing further. He felt like crying, and like screaming, but he didn't.

He wouldn't let himself.

He glanced up as he heard the door opening, seeing Kyoudan walk in. He was still carrying that metal bar.

"Have you changed your mind yet?"

Matt frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Are you going to talk to me yet?"

"I told you," Matt said, frustrated. "I don't know anything."

Surprising, the metal bar stayed still. Kyoudan simply stared at him.

"If that's true, then you're saying we should let you know because you don't anything. Right?"

"No, I never thought that-"

"Well, it won't work!"


They both looked as Hitosarai, who was standing in the doorway.

"'Youdan, did you ever consider that the kid might be telling the truth?"

Kyoudan stared at Hitosarai, and then at Matt.

"Are you?" He asked Matt.

"I told you I was," Matt answered quietly. "Dad barely sees me, let alone talks to me. And if he did talk to me, it wouldn't be about his work."

Kyoudan sighed, placing the metal bar down.

"We can't let him go," he stated.

"We don't have to beat him," Hitosarai said wryly. "Even if he did know anything, he wouldn't talk simply because you're beating him."

Kyoudan narrowed his eyes. "Whose side are you on?" He spat.

"Yours. I just don't think beating him, especially if he has no idea what you're talking about, is right."

Matt stared at the two, grateful for the reprieve from the metal bar. He figured he probably wouldn't be released, but it was a start.

"Well, then. We need to think of… Alternate methods…" Kyoudan stated slowly.

Hitosarai handed him something he had had in his hands that Matt identified immediately.

"That's my schoolbag," he said.

"Correct," Hitosarai answered. "Your phone was ringing incessantly earlier this morning, and you had numerous text messages. I took the time to delete them for you. After all, they're no good to you at the moment."

Matt didn't reply. He had wanted to know who called him, or who had sent him messages. He hoped it was TK, but knew it most likely wasn't.

"Now, we need some answers. If we can't get them from you, then we can get them via you."

"But-" Matt protested, but he silenced as Kyoudan picked up the metal bar again.

"And you're going to do it, Yamato." He grinned slightly. "Is there anything you want right now? Anything at all?"

To be released? Matt thought, but didn't voice.

"Because if there is… Do this, and you can have it. Obviously I won't release you; I mean feed you and keeping you alive. If you don't do this, then you'll be left alone in the dark here until you either die or help us."

Matt shut his eyes tightly. He didn't want either of those things.

"So what do you say?"

"…If I do this, can I have something to eat…?" Matt asked softly, hating himself for needing what was being offered in return.

"You can have a buffet for all I care. Anything else?"

"What, I can have more than one thing…?"

Kyoudan nodded.

The idea was becoming more and more appealing to Matt. He hated to know that, but he was only human, after all. And worst of all, his captors knew he would cave at some point.

Might as well get it over with…

"So if I make the call and help you… You'll help me?"

Another nod.

No, Matt told himself mentally. You have to be strong; don't give in! As tempting as it sounds, you mustn't do this!

But… I am hungry…

And thirsty…


"Well, Yamato?" Kyoudan prompted. "Do you need some time alone to think about it?"

"No," Matt said almost urgently. "Just a minute, just let me think…"

You can survive without food and water for now. Don't be so weak.

"Wouldn't you want to wash the blood off?" Kyoudan said. Matt looked up at him, feeling his resolve cracking.

I need to shower and get this off me… At least need to wash…

It can wait! I can't see it therefore it's not there… I don't need anything at all. I can't do that to Dad.

"No," he said softly. "I-I don't need anything. I won't do it."

Kyoudan raised an eyebrow slightly, seemingly surprised.

"Is that so? Very well."

He turned to walk out the room, gesturing to Hitosarai as he went.

"No, no, wait!" Matt heard himself call out. "Please, wait…"

Kyoudan stopped, looking back round.

"Changed your mind?"

Why do I have to be so weak…?

"Can I at least go to the bathroom without having to be part of your deal…?" Matt asked, keeping his eyes to the floor, almost knowing the answer.

"If I let you go, you're to call your father," Kyoudan stated. "Will you do that?"

Matt didn't reply for a moment. He felt like crying; he would have to adhere to their deal, and they knew that.

"I d-don't know…"

"Make your mind up, then!" Kyoudan snapped, raising the metal bar again.

"Y-yes!" Matt answered quickly, mostly out of fear more than anything else.

"Good. But, later Yamato. We need to think of something logical for you to say, as to why you haven't been home. Something your father would never doubt."


Kyoudan, who walked out the room without further acknowledgement, ignored him.

He glanced up pleadingly at Hitosarai.

"I won't help you," he suddenly said, his voice stronger than he thought it could be. "I won't phone."

"Then you won't go to the bathroom," Hitosarai said sternly. Matt shrugged as best he could.

"It can wait."

"You won't be fed. You won't have water."

Matt shrugged again.

I really hope this works…

Hitosarai didn't react for a moment. Then he walked forward and unchained Matt from the bar on the wall.

"I'll take you, but if you don't make that phone call, Kyoudan will hit you so hard you'll end up with broken bones," he warned as Matt rubbed circulation back into his wrists. "Come on."

Matt followed the older man out of the room and down a brightly lit corridor. Kyoudan was waiting at the end of it, looking angrily at the blonde.

Hitosarai raised a hand to silence him before he could speak.

"He will help us. But we have to help him first."

Kyoudan didn't reply to that, rolling his eyes and letting them pass. Matt sighed inwardly. It seemed as thought Hitosarai would be trying to make this 'stay' as uncomfortable as possible.

They entered a small bathroom, Hitosarai walking across to a miniscule window and locking it swiftly.

"I doubt you could get out," he explained. "But I'd rather not take that risk."

Matt didn't reply; he had caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror above the small sink.

Blood. That was the only thing he could see amongst the purple and yellow bruising that also littered areas of his face. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see it anymore.

"I'll be outside," Hitosarai stated, walking out and closing the door behind him.

The moment he was gone, Matt collapsed against the sink, his eyes still closed against his never-changing reflection. He wanted to cry, and he could feel tears pricking his eyes, but he refused to let himself.

What did I do…? What did I do to deserve this…?

Someone… Please, tell me…

. . . . . . . . . .

Tai stood impatiently, knocking on Matt's door continuously. No one had yet answered, and he was beginning to worry a little.


He turned to see Mr. Ishida, looking tired and drawn from working, walking up to him with a key in his hand.

"Hello Mr. Ishida," Tai said politely. "I came to see Matt, actually."

"Matt?" Mr. Ishida replied, turning the key in the lock and opening the door. "He didn't come home last night. I assumed he stayed with you or TK."

Tai's heart skipped a beat.

"No, Sir, he didn't stay with me, or with TK. He didn't stay at anybody's house last night… And he didn't come to school this morning, either."

Mr. Ishida, in the process of putting his keys down on a nearby kitchen work surface stopped abruptly.

"He… What?" He said softly, turning to face Tai. "Then, where is he?"

The telephone ringing interrupted them, and Mr. Ishida reached out to answer it in a zombie-like state.

"Hello, Ishida residence?"


"Matt?! Where the heck are you?!"

"…It doesn't matter where I am."

"Matt, why didn't you call…?" Mr. Ishida said softly. "Tai's here, he just came round to find out if you were okay. I only just found out you were missing; I thought you were with him or TK or someone…"

"Dad, listen. I… I can't come home yet."

"Why not?"

"Don't ask me that. I have a question for you, though. I heard something about a murder in Kyoto…"

"Kyoto? Is that were you are?"

"Possibly. Don't go looking for me, okay, I don't know where I am. Anyway, that murder… Do you know anything about that?"

"Matt, you're acting strange…"

"Dad, just tell me."

Mr. Ishida sighed. "Yes, son. I'm covering the case at the moment at work. We've got a couple of leads who we think it is."



"Dad, please."

"If you're thinking of researching this yourself for whatever reason, forget it Matt."

"Dad! Just, tell me!"

Mr. Ishida jumped, hearing desperation in his son's voice.

"Did you perhaps know the person who died, Matt?"

No response.

"If that's it… Matt, you never said."

"Tell me, please."

Mr. Ishida sighed again, giving in. "We think it could be drug related. A hit-man type job. There, are you happy?"

"No, but I'll be fine." There was a pause, where Mr. Ishida could have sworn Matt was collecting his composure so not to cry down the phone.

"Matt, what's the matter…?"

"D-don't," came the shaky reply before he hung up, leaving Mr. Ishida holding the receiver in his hand, and a dial tone in his ear.

"What did he say?" Tai questioned softly.

"He… Confused me, actually…" Mr. Ishida answered. "Starting asking questions about a murder in Kyoto, and gave me the impression he knew who had been killed."

Tai shook his head. "He doesn't know anybody in Kyoto, let alone anybody who's been killed."

"I figured as much, which is making me wonder… Why would he vanish, and phone only to ask that…?"

. . . . . . . . . .

"What information did you get?"

Matt stared at the floor, not wanting to answer, but knowing he had to do so to spare another beating.

"He just said he thought it was drug related, and perhaps involved a hit-man. That's it."

"Nothing else?" Kyoudan asked again, the metal bar in his hand whilst Hitosarai stood behind him a few paces.

"That's it! Really!" Matt said, his eyes on the bar. He had spent about ten minutes cleaning all the blood from his face earlier, and he certainly didn't want his cheeks stained with it again.

"He knows it's a hit man," Hitosarai said evenly, alerting Kyoudan's attention to him. "We didn't know he knew that much already. Spare him the beating, he has helped us there."

Kyoudan didn't answer, but he dropped the bar on the floor.

"You're too soft on him," he snapped.

"No. He helped us in return for a small piece of kindness. He didn't help when you beat him."

Kindness? Matt thought to himself. I don't call being told 'help or we'll leave you to die' kind! But, I guess I didn't get beaten.

Kyoudan chose to ignore that statement, glaring at Matt with half-lidded eyes.

"You're lucky," he said simply before stalking out the room. Hitosarai looked at Matt a moment longer.

"You're strong willed," he stated. "It's going to take a lot to break you. But, your father is too close. We need to intervene, and the only way to do so is to use you. Kyoudan wants to hurt you, just because he can. And he will, Yamato. If you are going to break, it will be then. I see tears in your eyes; do not let him see them fall, but do not keep them inside. Doing so weakens you spiritually. Do not let that happen now."

Matt didn't respond, looking at Hitosarai as though he were an angel.

"Thank you," he said quietly. "I'll keep that in mind."

Hitosarai nodded before turning and following his companion, once again leaving Matt in the darkness. Hitosarai's words rang out in his mind, and he followed the man's advice.

He lowered his head and cried.

. . . . . . . . . .

TK stared at his mobile phone as it began to ring, hoping it would be Matt.

I'm tired of fighting with him…

The display read Tai, and he picked it up with a sigh.

"Hey," he answered.

"TK… Matt's not sick. He's not even home."

TK almost dropped the phone.


"He called your Dad, just now. He started asking questions about a murder in Kyoto or something. Your Dad's real confused, TK."

"So am I," TK said, the anger he had felt for his brother vanishing instantly. "And I'm worried. Did he say where he was when he called?"

"No, but your Dad thinks he might be in Kyoto. Regardless, even if he was, he wouldn't be now. Matt asked him not to search for him."

"Tai, doesn't that sound a little suspect to you?" TK asked.

"Of course it does, TK. The whole affair's a little bit suspect. The only useful thing about that phone-call is letting us know he's okay."

"But is he?" TK said softly.

Tai didn't respond for a moment.

"I don't know, TK," he answered after a moment. "I really don't know."

. . . . . . . . . .


He glanced up from the floor, though he hadn't really been seeing it in the darkness, as he heard it. He couldn't quite make it what it was, but he was relieved to hear it.

Normality. Oh, God, I need that…

He had no idea how long had passed since his last meeting with Kyoudan and Hitosarai, and he had no idea how long he'd spent crying after they'd left. But he did feel better, though his body still ached.

Please don't stop that music… Please don't stop that link to the outside world…

The door opened and the light was switched on, making him close his eyes against the lightened contrast.

"We have a plan."

As he opened his eyes, Kyoudan was unlocking his handcuffs and pulling him to his feet.

"We're going to the murder scene. Your father will be there tonight, looking for you."

"How do you-"

Kyoudan gave Matt his phone, which he gratefully took. The display read he had a voicemail message. He pressed and held 1 to dial it as Kyoudan dragged him from the room.

"You have one voicemail message. Message One."

"Hey Matt, it's Tai. Your phone-call earlier really confused us, and your Dad's going out of his mind with worry. He's going to Kyoto, tonight, to search for you. TK and I are going, too, because… Well, he's like a man possessed. He's worried sick, and… I'm worried too, but if you don't wanna come home for whatever reason and you are in Kyoto, get out of there. Just… At least let TK and I know if you're okay, if you don't want your Dad to know where you are or what you're doing. He's probably going to get to the murder sight… I think that's what he said. So if you're there, get away.

I'm not making much sense, am I? Heh, well... I am worried about ya, buddy. Take care, okay?"

"End message. To repeat the message-"

Matt cut the call off, shaking his head sadly.

Tai, you idiot. I know you think you're helping, but that did NOT help…

"Remind me to thank your friend when we see him next," Kyoudan hissed, opening a door and pushing Matt through it. It led to the outside, and Matt squinted his eyes in the light of day.

Hitosarai was sitting in the driver's seat of the black van that had bought him to this mysterious place, and he knew he was being dragged to it.

He was indeed right; Kyoudan pushed him into the back roughly and jumped in after him. Hitosarai started the engine and they were away, Matt still gathering his bearings and attempting to get up from the floor.

He found, however, that the moment he was standing, Kyoudan viciously kicked him back to the floor again. Sighing and shaking his head, he stayed down. He didn't want to do that again; he had very nearly fallen face-first.

"We're going to the murder scene, aren't we?" He questioned quietly.

Kyoudan simply nodded, as though he were not worthy of a verbal answer.

Matt didn't speak again, closing his eyes as the van rounded a corner. He felt as though he might pass out; he hadn't eaten nor had anything to drink, and he was a little light-headed from it.

The next thing he knew was sunlight; being pulled out of the van and to his feet. He opened his eyes, trying to keep the glare of the sun out of them with his hands.

Did I fall asleep? Or did I pass out? "Wake up!" Kyoudan barked, smacking the back of his head sharply with his palm. "You're going to be helping us, Yamato."

Matt didn't answer, swallowing to moisten his dry throat. He didn't want to help them. But, he had to, to save himself and his Dad.

Tai and TK will be there, too… I have to help them too…

But… What if I can't…?

No. I will because I have to, and because I love them. They won't get hurt because of me. I won't allow it.

"Do you know how you're going to be helping us, Yamato?" Kyoudan continued.

"No," Matt answered hoarsely.

"You're going to be our hostage. Your father's been snooping a little too much lately. I'm sure he won't snoop anymore if he sees we have his eldest son at gunpoint."

"Gunpoint?!" Matt asked, his eyes widening.

Kyoudan simply grinned, pulling something from a holder in his belt.

It was, indeed, a gun.

Oh *God*…

. . . . . . . . . .

"Mr. Ishida?" Tai said nervously, his eye on the man's speedometer. "I'm sure this is only a thirty limit through he- WHOA!"

"Dad!" TK called from the back seat. "Please, we're worried about Matt too, but we're no good to him dead!"

Mr. Ishida didn't reply, setting his car back in a straight line- after all, he had served off the road and onto the pavement to go round a crossing pedestrian at a red light zebra crossing. He simply flicked the radio on. Loudly.

"So remember we were driving, driving in your car, with speeds so fast I felt like I was drunk, city lights lay out before us, and your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder…"

Tai groaned and turned the radio off, whilst TK protested that it was 'classic' and 'a good song'.

"Sorry, Mr. Ishida," Tai apologized. "But we need to be alert in all senses if we see Matt."

"I know," came the short reply before the brakes were hit. Both TK and Tai blessed the fact they had seatbelts on.

Mr. Ishida was already getting out the car and striding over to a nearby abandoned building. Tai and TK shrugged and followed him. There was police tape round the building, but they could see Mr. Ishida had some kind of pass at ready should they encounter authority.

They didn't; Mr. Ishida pushed open the door and stepped inside, Tai and TK close on his heels.

"S'dark," TK noted, feeling for a light-switch. When he found one, he flicked it on and bathed the room in light.

"This is the scene of the murder," Mr. Ishida sat matter-of-factly. Tai cringed and covered TK's eyes before he could see the bloodstains on the floor and walls. It certainly looked like someone had been shot in the head at close range. "Matt!! Matt, are you here?"

"He might be."

The three jumped and turned to see an oriental man in a suit, smiling at them.

"I'm Hitosarai," he said, bowing to them. "Pleased to meet you, Sir. I've heard a lot about you."

"Who are you, and what do you know about Matt?!" Mr. Ishida demanded.

Hitosarai didn't respond; he simply turned towards some crates to his left.

Mr. Ishida frowned and edged forward. Hitosarai raised a hand to him, and then placed two fingers in his mouth and whistled.

On cue, another man came out from behind the crates, pulling another figure with him.

"Matt!" The three cried out in unison.

"My God…" Mr. Ishida uttered at seeing his son. "God…"

"Down," Kyoudan hissed, pushing Matt roughly to his knees. Matt cried out in pain, but didn't open his eyes. He was unaware of the looks of horror he was receiving from the three people he held close. He most certainly looked a state. Crimson stained his clothes and mussed hair, and his cheekbone had turned a dark shade of purple. Anybody could see it was fractured, even from a distance. There was what looked like a deep cut amongst the plum color; a cut that would most likely scar.

He could feel his knees bleeding beneath him, due to the rough push to the concrete ground he had been given. He slowly opened his eyes as he felt something cold touch his temple, and a cry of pain from his father.

The gun. He knew what it was without the unnecessary cry from TK stating what it was.

"You know too much about this case, Ishida," Kyoudan stated. "Unless you want your son to be the second murder in this, back off."

Mr. Ishida didn't- couldn't- reply. TK and Tai looked equally stunned.

"What do you have to say, Yamato?" Kyoudan asked, pushing the gun closer into Matt's temple.

"N-nothing," he whispered, afraid a response would lead to his death.

The gun was pulled away, and he could hear the trigger being cocked. He closed his eyes tightly, trying not to cry.

"No!" Mr. Ishida yelled, but it was too late. A shot rang out in the air, and Matt screamed in terror.

Then he realized he had stayed alive to scream before opening his eyes.

Millimeters. The gun had been shot mere millimeters from where his hand was resting on the ground. He closed his eyes thankfully.

"You're lucky I wasn't aiming," Kyoudan whispered in his ear before pushing him forward again, hard enough for him to hit the ground face-first.


He opened them again, a little surprised, as he heard Tai's voice.

"What do you want with him?" His friend was saying, looking a little shaken though his voice didn't show it. "Huh?!"

Matt looked up, feeling blood on his chin and in his mouth. He knew that had probably loosened a few teeth, but he didn't care. At that point, he felt very lucky to be alive.

Tai, what the hell are you doing, you idiot?!

"You just want to show Mr. Ishida not to work on this case anymore? Well? What was the shot for? What was pushing him over for?! A power trip! That's all!"

Kyoudan aimed the gun at Tai, eyes narrowed.


Hitosarai stepped forward, standing between the gun and Tai.

"No, 'Youdan. This is how it happened last time. You can't just kill people when they say things you don't like to hear."

"So you are connected…" Mr. Ishida said softly. "You did this last time…"

"Correct," Kyoudan stated. "He owed some people some money. He wouldn't pay, so he paid with his life."

He gasped, suddenly, as someone pushed him from behind. He fell to the ground, the gun shooting from his grasp and skidding across the room and stopping at Hitosarai's feet.

Matt stood behind where Kyoudan had fallen, breathing heavily but looking triumphant. He stepped forward, placing a foot on the back of Kyoudan's head. Without warning, he stamped forward, making the man smack his face into the concrete.

Kyoudan didn't make a sound of pain, but as he pulled his head back up, there was blood on his lip and on the floor.

"Don't be so inconsiderate," Matt hissed. "You're tainting the evidence in here."

He glanced up at Hitosarai, who was holding the gun.

"'Sarai!" Kyoudan hissed.

Hitosarai looked at Kyoudan on the floor, and then back at Matt.

He shook his head and pulled the cartridge from the gun, letting bullets fall to the floor.

"No. No more innocent lives, Kyoudan."

Matt smiled slightly. He knew right from the start that Hitosarai would help him, when it came down to it.

"Thank you," he said softly, though it echoed loudly in the room.

Kyoudan growled and got up from the floor, throwing Matt back to the floor as he did so as his foot was still resting on his head. He lunged at Hitosarai, who jumped out the way.

He didn't realize Tai was still behind him.

They both went tumbling to the floor, Kyoudan quickly gaining the upper hand and pinning the younger boy to the floor.

Hitosarai grabbed TK and dragged him behind some crates, gesturing for Mr. Ishida to follow.

"But, what about Matt?!" Mr. Ishida shouted.

"Look at him!" Hitosarai stated, to which Mr. Ishida did.

Matt was watching Kyoudan wrestling with his best friend, a metal bar in his hands. The metal bar, in fact, he had been hit with numerous times. He was taking strong steps in their direction, despite the look of pain in his eyes. His face was bleeding as were his knees, but he didn't look like he could tell nor cared.

When it looked as though Kyoudan was going to wrap his hands round Tai's throat, Matt began to run, bar raised. Mr. Ishida ducked behind the crate as instructed.


With that, he slammed the bar into the back of Kyoudan's back with a sickening crack. Kyoudan cried out in terror and pulled his hands off of Tai, clutching the back of his head. Tai took that moment to scramble away.

Matt slammed the bar down again, over his hands, so hard it would have been a miracle to have escaped it without any broken bones.

"You do not-" The bar hit down again. "Hurt the people I love-" Another crack. "Without paying for it!"

He slammed the bar down again, but before it could hit, another gunshot echoed throughout the empty warehouse. Matt stepped back as blood sprayed up and covered him in bright specks.

Hitosarai stepped out from behind the crate, a gun in his hand.

"No more innocent lives," he said softly.

A groan from Kyoudan alerted them that he was still alive, though not in a good state. Hitosarai stepped forward, pushing Matt gently out the way. He gladly stepped back, bumping into Tai. He fell to his knees, not feeling the cuts on his knees scorch in pain.

"You okay?" Tai questioned, dropping to his knees again and grasping his friend's shoulders, feeling him shaking in his grasp.

Matt stared at him a moment and, as another shot echoed throughout the warehouse, burst into tears.

"Oh, Matt," Tai said softly, embracing him tightly. "Matt…"

And, as bloodstained and shattered as the blonde was, Tai refused to let him go. After only a few moments, the sobs had subsided into breaths, and he was sleeping soundly.

. . . . . . . . . .

When he opened his eyes again, he knew he was in a hospital. The place was too white and sterile, and most defiantly not his bedroom, to be anything else.

"You awake…?"

He glanced up to see TK smiling down at him.

"I'm sorry. I doubted that there was something wrong. I doubted that-"

Matt put a finger up to TK's lips, grinning slightly.

"Shut up, TK," he said softly. "Just shut up."

TK grinned and leant forward, hugging his brother tightly.

"You have a fractured cheekbone," he heard his father say as he let TK go. He smiled up at him as he approached the bed.

"I figured," Matt answered. "It hurts like hell."

"Language!" Mr. Ishida scolded softly, though he was smiling gently. He leant over his son and gave him a quick, but meaningful, embrace. "I was going to forgive you for this-" He pulled a tattered, very recognizable manila envelope from his pocket. "After all, I never signed this to say I knew about your detention."

Matt sheepishly grinned.

"That's was Tai's idea," he said in defense before pausing a moment. "How is Tai, anyway?"

"Right here, alive and kicking," Tai said, stepping forward and grinning like the Cheshire Cat. "And I owe that much to you."

Matt shook his head. "If you hadn't had the courage to stand up to what Kyoudan was doing to me, then Hitosarai would never have intervened."

He glanced round the room, confused.

"Where is Hitosarai?"

"He was arrested," Mr. Ishida explained. "He killed Kyoudan, after all. He's been charged with murder."

Matt shook his head slowly, sighing heavily.

I didn't want him arrested. I wanted to thank him for saving my life.

The door opened, and Nancy Takaishi stepped in softly.

"Matt, how are you feeling…?" She questioned softly, walking over to the bedside but hovering without touching him.

"I'll feel better if you hug me, Mom," Matt answered softly.

Nancy choked, reaching down and embracing her first born son tightly.

"Thank you, son," she whispered.

"Yeah, well…" Matt said inconclusively, shrugging as she let go. "Everyone else has had a hug, so you might as well, too…"

He was grinning to show her he didn't mean it, and she smiled weakly back.


He looked up at Tai, an eyebrow arched.

"I didn't get a hug."

Matt rolled his eyes, laughing slightly as he held out his arms. Tai walked forward and embraced him tightly, hiding the tears in his eyes in his friend's hospital gown.

The door opened again, and Izzy poked his head round the door.

"Can we come in…?" He questioned.

"If 'we' means all the Digi-destined and their Digimon then some of us had better vacate!" Mr. Ishida laughed.

Matt let Tai go, smiling all the way.

"You owe me," Tai said simply.

Matt grinned and slapped him gently on the closest place he could; his arm.

"What was that for?!" Tai asked indignantly.

"For leaving that stupid answer phone message on my phone! I mean, honestly! 'Yeah, I think you've been kidnapped, so I'm going to tell your kidnappers exactly where we will be tonight'!"

"It saved you!" Tai answered. "And besides, we didn't know what happened to you! You weirded us out with that phone call, remember?!"

Matt smiled slightly, grabbing hold of Gabumon who had jumped up the other side of the bed to him.

"Shut up and get out, you. You owe me. Math homework, remember? That counts, even if we cancelled each other out earlier."

Tai grinned.

"Whatever. See you later."

He turned and left, and smile on his face.

After what you've just been through, I'd do anything to make you happy.

He grinned.

…Even if it means letting you think I owe you. Because I don't, Ishida- that Math homework excuse was lame…! But right now, I don't care. You're alive, and I don't care about anything else.

I don't care as long as my best friend hasn't been taken from me.

And, inside the hospital room, Matt was thinking much the same thing.

Author's Notes: There, Lianne, I hope you like it! I certainly had a lot of fun writing it, amazingly!

Comments and feedback to Nanaki_Lioness@hotmail.com or reviews below would be appreciated!

Thanks to all who read; hope you enjoyed!