Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. All Digimon characters are owned by Toei and A. Hongo and such. I am making no money from this fic. It is a just-for-fun project. The only bit I own is my own characters and the way the words are put together. The song 'Precious Things' is written by Tori Amos and is copyrighted to her; the song 'Cry, Ophelia' is by Adam Cohen and is copyrighted to him.
Author's Note; 18th June 2008 – This alternate ending was not previously uploaded. I do not plan to come back and amend this work (if I start picking holes in it, I'll never stop XD)
Alternate Ending 2
Tai stood for a moment, still unsure. The wind blew again and his attention was, once more, taken to the road that would lead to TK.
It's really late… I don't think Ms Takaishi is gonna like me knocking on her door this late and asking for TK.
But I think Matt needs you, buddy.
I have a bad feeling.
I think he needs you now.
Tai turned the corner and walked quickly down the long road, high-rises passing him on either side. The bright streetlights lit his path in an eerie orange glow- making the sinking feeling in his stomach worse than it already was.
"I'm sorry, Ms Takaishi- is TK there? I know it's late."
"He's sleeping Tai. I'm sorry."
"Okay, no problem."
Tai ran through scenarios in his head.
"I'm sorry Ms Takaishi- is TK there? I know it's late."
"Yes, it is- but I'll see if he's willing to wake up for you."
"Okay, no problem."
That one was the scenario he wanted.
"I'm sorry, Ms Takaishi- is TK there? I know it's late."
"No, he's not here. He's been out partying and drinking all night with his friends!"
Tai wasn't quite sure where that stupid thought had come from, but it gave him cause to giggle as he turned into TK's street. Anyone passing him by might have thought him an idiot- but he was grateful for the laugh all the same.
Matt had been worrying him all night. He was closed and withdrawn- in a way Tai hadn't seen him for a long time. He couldn't think what might be wrong- even though he'd wracked his brains.
Maybe TK knows something.
Tai glanced down at the letter held tightly in his hands.
Maybe this will tell us.
He paused as he reached TK's building, and looked up to the seventh floor windows-counting ten along. This was a practiced way to find TK's apartment. He sighed, relieved that there were still lights on. He didn't really want to wake anybody up- although it was so late that he suspected TK would already be in bed.
He wandered into the building and got into the elevator. Pressing the '7' button he waited, nervously, as the elevator rose and rose, taking him closer and closer to TK- and probably a brush with his mom.
Eventually, the doors opened, and he spilled out onto the corridor. His footsteps were loud, he noted with chagrin, on the hard, polished floor.
He looked at TK's front door for a moment before he knocked- steeling himself for a possible argument with TK's mom. It occurred to him suddenly that, even if she refused to let him see TK, he could at least give her the letter to pass on. He'd get it in the morning that way.
A little cheered by this thought, he knocked on the door.
After the clicking and clanking of bolts being drawn back, and safety chains being put into place, Natsuko's face finally appeared worriedly at the gap between the door and the jamb.
"I'm sorry, Ms Takaishi- is TK there? I know it's late."
"Yes, it is, Tai. What are you doing out so late yourself?" Natsuko drew back the safety chain and opened the door wide.
"I was with Matt, and he asked me to give TK something. Is he sleeping?"
Tai looked so hopeful that Natsuko stood back, indicating that he should come in. He smiled, thanked her and took off his shoes in the corner as she closed and bolted the door behind him.
"I'm sorry to call so late. Didn't mean to worry you." He said when he was standing upright again. Natsuko smiled in response and opened the door to TK's room.
He heard her quiet, gentle voice call her son's name, and some kind of sleepy response.
"Do you want me to send him in?" she asked, after a brief explanation. Again, mumbles indicated that indeed, TK was in the room and that yes, he probably had been asleep.
The sound of the low-volume TV gently invaded Tai's senses.
Natsuko moved away from the door and said, gently,
"Thank you." Tai smiled again, and bowed gratefully. Natsuko didn't answer, she just smiled a polite smile and went to sit back down on the sofa.
Tai walked into TK's room and shut the door behind him. TK looked at him blearily from his seat on top of the bedcovers.
"Wass'up?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.
"Sorry to wake you, TK. But Matt wanted me to give you this."
He handed TK the small, white envelope. TK looked at it with one eye shut.
"What is it?"
"I don't know; he wouldn't tell me. Seems to be some big secret. You guys up to something I don't know about?" Tai grinned mischievously, and TK just smiled and shrugged.
"If we were, would you really want to know?" he said cheekily. Tai gave this a moment's thought, still grinning, and replied,
"No, you're right- probably not."
It was TK's turn to grin widely.
"Okay, I'm a bit more awake now. So what's really up?"
"Have you spoken to Matt recently?" Tai asked, his expression becoming more serious.
"Yeah, yesterday. Why?"
"Did you notice anything was… up with him?"
"No. Not really." TK responded. "I was kinda busy yesterday though, so I didn't get to talk to him for long. Why? Is something wrong?" His expression clouded slightly.
"I don't know. I was hoping you might be able to tell me." Tai shrugged.
TK looked back down at the envelope.
"Well, you know Matt. He's always hiding stuff." He moved to open the envelope. Tai dived forward and put a hand over TK's as he slid his finger underneath the flap.
"He didn't want you to have that until tomorrow."
"So, why did you bring it to me?" TK asked, one eyebrow raised.
"Because I thought it might be important. But if you open it now, you've got to promise that you won't tell him I gave it to you earlier- he was pretty insistent." Tai placated. TK rolled his eyes.
"Sure, I won't tell on you." He smiled and slid his finger under the flap, tearing the top of the envelope.
Matt held the razorblade between his lips as he rubbed his wrist to bring the blood to the surface. He was shaking almost uncontrollably.
I have to do this now. I can't back out, there'll be too many questions…I can't back out… I can't…
He was surprised that he didn't feel the blade go into the skin- it was only when it reached flesh that it really started to hurt. There wasn't much flesh to be found on his wrists at all, though- and he was hoping that this would help him find what he was looking for as he dragged the blade down towards the crook of his arm.
Suddenly he hit something vital, and blood welled quickly around the edge of the blade- making him jump back and swear.
It won't be long now… It won't be long, and the pain will be gone… It won't be long…
I just have to make sure I do the other wrist…
Blood gently soaking the undone cuff of his white shirt, he reached across and committed the same wrong to his other wrist, making sure that this time the blade went deeper. Indeed it did, and the pain brought tears to his eyes- fresh tears that weren't of the same ilk as the first.
I'm sorry, TK… I'm sorry I didn't have the guts to call you and tell you. I was worried that you might try to save me, that you might come here and see me like this…
I don't want to be saved…
"So that's how it's been for the past few days." Tai finished, putting back the pen he'd taken out of the pot to fiddle with on TK's desk. The only reply was a slight rustling of paper. Tai heard the change in TK's breathing and turned immediately, to find TK pale as the bed sheets he sat on, with his hand across his mouth.
"TK? What is it?" Tai asked immediately. TK glanced up at Tai, and he saw the tears in the younger boy's eyes.
"Tell me now, TK, what is it?" Tai's voice was firm. TK composed himself and stood quickly, grabbing Tai's arm.
"Quickly, get your shoes on. We have to go see Matt- now. Right now!"
"TK, what-" Tai began, but TK shoved the sheet of paper into Tai's hand and instructed,
As Tai did so, TK slid a pair of trousers on over his pyjama bottoms and left his PJ top on as a shirt.
"Oh God… Is he kidding?!" Tai yelled, garnering protests from TK that they really ought not alert his mother.
"Why? We have to!" Tai yelled as TK moved towards the door and opened it.
"Because- Mom, I have to go out, I'll be back soon!" TK cleverly hid the coming answer. He ran to the front door and pulled on his boots, not even lacing them. Tai followed silently, as Natsuko got out of her chair, with an expression of concern on her face.
"TK, where are you going so late? Can't it-"
"I have to go see Matt, Mom- I won't be long I don't think and I'm sure Dad'll drop me back when he gets home from work, or I'll stay or something- don't worry. I have to go, though." TK grabbed his jacket from the wall hook.
Without another word, he opened the door and ran out of it, closely followed by an apologetic-looking Tai. Tai shut the door behind him, but it was quickly opened by Natsuko again, who moved to follow her son down the corridor.
"At least let me give you a ride?"
TK paused as he looked back at his worried mother.
"How long will it take you to get the car out?"
"I don't know- it depends if anybody's blocked me in or not."
TK and Tai looked at each other.
I thought I'd be scared… But I'm not- not really. I'm just… floating…
Yeah, that's it- floating…
I wonder if I'm floating in my own blood…
Heh, wouldn't that be funny?
I must look a real mess right now…
The only thing that scares me now…
The only thing…
Is someone finding me before I'm done…
Matt's eyes drifted slowly shut as the blood flowed smoothly out of his body. He could feel his limbs becoming heavy as he lay, motionless, against the base of his bed. His head lolled against the mattress, he felt his feet slide away from him, his legs involuntarily straightening as he lost the strength to hold them to himself.
"Normally I like Mr Fujitsubo, but not right now!" TK yelled as he stormed down the street. Tai kept level with TK, his legs longer and made better for the job of 'stomping'.
"Yeah, well, I can't say I'm so happy with him right now, either." Tai responded, letter still clutched tightly in hand.
When the boys and Natsuko had reached the parking lot, they'd found Natsuko's car had been blocked in by an elderly gentleman three doors down from TK. TK, who had panicked when his mother said it was too late to wake the man, had run straight from the car park without another word. Tai had followed him, half torn between explaining the issue to Matt's mom and his loyalty to TK.
They had left her calling like Bo Peep to her lost flock.
"If he's done anything to himself, I'm gonna kill him." Tai muttered under his breath. TK gave him a sideways glance.
"Won't that defeat the object?" he commented. Tai didn't respond.
TK's determined expression faltered.
"You don't think…that he'd really…?"
"I don't know anymore, TK. I just don't." Tai shook his head sadly.
"He is so in trouble, it's not even funny." TK's words were hard, but his voice was not.
I can…hear myself breathing…
In my head…
Goodbye, cruel world…
Oh, God, what a cliché…
…You'd think that I…
…could come up…with something better…
Matt's dying mind flickered to his brother reading his letter.
…I'm so sorry, Teek…
But maybe you won't care…
Maybe you'll laugh and say, "Well, I never loved him anyway…"
On the edge of Matt's hearing was an unrepentant banging noise.
Nobody told me death would be this loud…
The banging wouldn't stop- and this time he heard voices, too.
"Matt? Matt!?" TK pounded the door with his fists, fruitlessly. The door shook with his pounding, and subsequently, Tai's as well. As Tai beat on the door, kicking and punching it in utter frustration, TK dived into his pocket, searching for the item that would remove the door from his path.
The key to his Dad's apartment.
"Matt, open this door right now if you're in there! I want you to open this door!" Tai yelled loudly. Matt's elderly neighbour from across the hall quietly opened his front door to the safety chain to see what was going on. After all, the Ishida's were normally such a nice pair. Boy was home alone a lot though- always had been.
TK's shaking hands finally found the sliver of gold coloured metal he was looking for- and, hesitating slightly, he slid it into the lock.
Some part of Matt's mind was alerted when he heard the key slip into the lock.
I'm not finished…
You can't be someone for me…
C'mon body, die! Die now!
You can't let them find me…
Not while I can still draw breath…
His eyes fluttered, even though they had closed through lack of strength a long time ago. His breathing changed as on some subliminal level, what was left of him started to panic.
I can't stand that worry…
I can't stand them being upset…
Who is it…?
TK was the first person through the door. There was no sign of Matt in the front room- although the TV was still on. Panicked, he called,
"Matt? Matt, where are you? Please, where are you?" His voice shook. He walked hesitantly towards Matt's bedroom door.
"Matt, are you in here?" TK asked loudly, trying to get the door open.
It was locked.
"Matt? Matt, open the door! Please… it's me…"
Oh God…It's TK…
Of all the people to find me…
Why'd it have to be him…?
"Matt, open this door right now! I'm not kidding! Right now or I'm coming in anyway!" Tai yelled. TK looked at him, questions on his features- but Tai stepped back, bracing his foot against the door.
"Tai…?" TK asked, his voice halting. But he knew at this point that smashing down the door was better than waiting for Matt to unlock it, he knew that he would have to brace himself for what was inside the room- and he knew he wasn't going to like it. Matt wouldn't just not answer.
He'd only not-answer if he couldn't.
TK moved away from the door as Tai starting kicking it, a feeling of dread rushing up towards his brain. The sound of the splintering wood made him want to cover his ears, but fear froze him to the spot.
Oh God, please go away…
I don't want you…
I want to die…
And you're gonna tell Dad that I did this…
And he's gonna be so mad…
Again and again, kick after kick- the bolt on the door did not give way for several long moments. Tai kicked that door until there were tears in his eyes, until finally there was one long crack and the door swung inwards, crashing into whatever was behind it.
It wasn't the crash that caught TK's attention.
It wasn't the sound of the broken glass as something fell from the chest of drawers to the floor.
It wasn't the broken door, the silence after the din.
It wasn't even Tai's startled cry.
It was the sight of his brother, languishing against the edge of his bed, his eyes half-closed and blood covering every part of his clothing and every inch of the floor around him. A razorblade lay benignly in his limp hand- the vampire after the feed.
That was what caught TK's attention.
And immediately brought tears to his eyes.
He ran, instantly to his brother- as he had always done. Hefted him into his arms, cradled his head.
"Oh, Matt…Oh, Matt, what have you done to yourself? Oh, God, what have you done, what have you done, what have you done?" TK wept. He lost track of Tai as he ran to the phone in the hallway, dialling the emergency services number.
TK could hear him from Matt's room, but really wasn't interested in what Tai was doing- only in Matt.
"Matt? Matt, can you hear me? Can you acknowledge me at all?" TK asked through a strained throat. Hesitantly, he reached for a pulse- and almost choked on the relief that there was one.
"Are you still breathing? Are you still breathing, Onii-chan?" TK moved closer to listen for breathing but before he could get close enough, Matt's body wracked and he took a noisy breath.
"You heard that didn't you? Didn't you, Onii-chan? I know you know it's me now…" TK whispered, blinded by tears. He could hear Tai frantically opening closets and cupboards, desperately looking for bandages or towels or sheets or- anything. Anything to stop the flow of blood.
For a moment, Matt opened his eyes. They were empty and lurid, all the colour bleached out of them. They frightened TK.
"S…orry…" Matt uttered through his throat. TK smiled, only just possible through his worried frown.
"No, no it's… Not now…It'll be okay, Matt… It's gonna be fine, it's gonna be-" TK cut himself short of his reassurances as he realised that Matt was now utterly motionless, that he seemed not to be breathing- that he seemed dead.
"Tai!!" TK screamed, "Tai!?"
Tai came running in quickly, his heart in his throat at TK's frantic screaming.
"What is it, TK, what?" He asked instantly, but then looked down at Matt's blank face and knew.
"Tai, Tai, Matt's not breathing, he's not breathing, you've got to help him! Tai, he's not- he's…" TK continued to repeat his frantic prayer as Tai wrenched Matt out of his brother's grasp and laid him down on his back. He flung TK a towel he'd found and snapped,
"Rip it in half."
TK was panicking too much to even hear what Tai said. All he could see was Matt and blood and dying and a funeral procession and-
Tai grabbed both his wrists and looked furiously into his eyes.
TK, if you don't do this, Matt's gonna die! You understand?! You have to do this or we'll lose him! I can't do both!"
TK looked blankly at Tai- his mind no longer behind his eyes, but in that funeral procession. Tai grabbed TK and forced him to look at Matt.
"You have to stop the bleeding! He'll die, TK, you'll lose him! We'll lose him!" TK shook his head and mumbled shakily,
"No, no lose him…can't lose him…"
"TK, shut up and take the towel and rip it in two and wrap it around his wrists!" Tai moved away, urgently needing to attend to Matt's breathing.
TK watched blankly as Tai proceeded to breathe for Matt.
Inside, Tai was panicking. He felt like his brain was about to explode out through his ears, he thought that at any moment he too would break down and cry and scream and yell and kick things, like he wanted to. But he couldn't. He couldn't, because then who would be left to look after Matt? Who would be left to look after his bleeding, dying friend, the friend he loved so much? Who would take care of him, who would make him breathe, who would get the blood on their hands and not care? It wouldn't be TK, because TK was panicking too much. It had to be him. It had to be- or Matt would simply pass away.
Shaking so much that he could barely move at all, TK leaned down and picked up the towel. He tried to tear it in two, but every muscle in his body was failing him. He looked at Matt and memories clouded his head.
I have to make more memories…
But to make more memories, I have to save Matt…
I can't just sit here and watch him bleed…
Bleed to death…
No, I can't…
Taking a deep breath through desperate panic, TK tore the towel in half suddenly, finding strength he had mislaid on the way to Matt's house. Tai looked up for a brief second, but could not spare the time to fully acknowledge TK's minor triumph. Matt was the priority right now.
TK wrapped the pieces of towel around Matt's wrists, lips moving in silent prayer the whole time.
Don't die Matt…
Please don't die…
I love you, please don't die…
Don't do this to me…
Don't do this to me…
Don't hurt me like this…
Please don't hurt me…
Not like this…
A knock on the door alerted TK. He scrambled to unsteady feet and opened the door wide, letting the ambulance men inside. He didn't speak when they asked him where Matt was, he just pointed weakly. Tai glanced up, and saw the ambulance men approaching him with purpose. He stood back and let them move quickly in with their machines and their oxygen.
He stepped away quickly, not able to shift the responsibility of Matt fast enough. Blood on his hands was one thing; Matt dying in his self-imposed care was another thing altogether.
He looked at TK; his eyes were fixed on Matt and the machinations of the ambulance men. His face was pale as stone and a sickly sheen covered his face. He walked quickly over to TK and squeezed his hand. Confusedly, TK squeezed Tai's back- both thinking that the other needed the support. Together, they watched.
TK clutched the letter as he sat by Matt's side. He gazed silently at Matt's face, at the respirator which helped his weak body to breathe. He reached out and rested his fingertips on the back of Matt's hand.
Onii-chan, come back to me…
I think you've frightened your soul away for a little while, but you can tell it it's all right to come back now…
Tell it I'm here for it…
Tell it I'll protect it- whatever the cost…
TK grasped Matt's hand tightly and opened the letter with the other hand. Softly, he read from the letter and interspersed it with his answers.
"'To my one and only brother,
Everybody has precious things. You are one of my precious things- always have been. I wonder how secure you have been all this time in knowing that I'd give my life for you in a second?'
"Well, you know, I never liked it. I never felt comfortable knowing that you would die for me- and yes, I did realise. It's one of the reasons I told you to stop being so protective.
"And… you're one of my precious things, too.
"'Because of you being so special, I have to tell you how sorry I am for having done this terrible thing to you. I feel that I have to explain myself- you do, after all, deserve an answer. I know I'm not much of a loss to the world, but maybe you can find it in your heart to forgive and forget me.'
"Forget you? Who are you trying to kid? People don't just forget their big brothers, it's not possible. And you're clearly more of a loss to the world that you could ever imagine.
"Today I saw Dad cry for the first time.
"And that was because of what you did to yourself.
"So, as you can see- you'd be a great and terrible loss.
"If you were gonna die, that is.
"'Maybe it's not such a terrible thing- I don't know where you stand on that.'
"Well, hello, of course it's a terrible thing.
"'Part of me wants you to love me enough to miss me- but the other part doesn't because that would mean you grieving over me. I don't want that, I'm not worth it. I never was.'
"Matt, if you died, I'd not only miss you, I'd throw myself after you and bring you back. And, and you're worth so much more than you think."
TK paused for a moment, pressing his fingers tighter into Matt's palm. When his brother woke- as he hoped and prayed that he would- he wanted to be there for him, showing him the support that was so obviously needed.
"'Every day I look at you and wonder why I got the hard side of the womb. Every day I wonder how come perfection came after me. They say good things come to those who wait, and you were it. I'm not angry. I'm not mad about it. It just is. I wasn't made to be perfect- you were.'
"'I must have been made to get the dregs out before you came.'
"Oh, Matt… What do you want me to tell you? Or, what do you want me to tell you first? You're a beautiful, wonderful person who would do anything for anybody. I don't know a single person who doesn't look up to you- I know that Davis does, for all his disrespect sometimes. I do. I definitely do. Sure, maybe little brothers are supposed to do that- but there can't be many big brothers who have so much for a little brother to look up to.
"When I was really small, you were always perfect. You were exactly what I wanted to become, everything I wanted to be. Now… well, now I know better than to think anybody's perfect."
"'I'm not explaining myself very well, am I?
"'I can't. I'm just pointless. I don't deserve to live. I don't have anything to offer the world. I can't heal, I can't help anybody, I don't have any skills apart from how to alienate everybody and that's not something you want to teach.'
"Okay, you were definitely sick when you wrote this. Um…you have every right to live- you have just as much right as anybody else. You have so many skills- you teach friendship and love and support everywhere you go. Doesn't that tell you something? Doesn't that tell you what we'd be missing if you went away…?
"'I always envied the way you made friends. You'd just go up to people and introduce yourself, and everybody always loved you. I'd always stand in a corner and watch, afraid to hand myself over in the way you always have.'
"But that's changed now, onii-chan. You were only ever so cool because you were frightened. Now you're not so frightened.
"Now…now it's me that's frightened. Right now. I've never been so frightened, so upset. I…I couldn't help you…I was too afraid. I let you down. I'm sorry."
Tears rolled down TK's face, but he swiftly wiped them away- convinced that they had no place in his world of hope.
"'I sound so bitter, so jealous. I'm not bitter and jealous of you, but more the people around you. I don't know why, but I am.
"'How, why should I be jealous of people when they're just your friends and I'm your brother?
"'Because you choose your friends- you don't choose your family.
"' If I wasn't your brother, you'd never have chosen me.
"' I've given you no reason to look up to me.
"'I've certainly given you no reason to love me.
"'I'm just worthless.'
"Matt… I love you. Sure, I wasn't given a choice in who I had as a big brother- but nobody could have done it better.
"There was a time when…I thought you'd left me, and I wanted Tai to be my big brother instead. But he's… He's Kari's big brother. He knows how to react around Kari- not me. It's like… you know how to react around me, but not Kari. There's nobody else who knows when I'm down like you do, or knows what to do about it. There's still times, believe it or not, when only your big brother can help. There's no-one else who can look at me and know exactly what I'm feeling when I need to be read like a book. There's no-one else who sets my stomach on fire with wasabi and mystery meat!"
TK giggled involuntarily at the memory. His voice became serious again.
"There's no-one else I'd want more, onii-chan."
"'And now I've decided that the world would be much better off without me here to screw it up.
"'I'm such a failure- I have no idea why I'm here or why I keep trying. I can't keep up this whole thing, TK. I can't, Ototo.
"Then…then why didn't you come and tell me before? I could have talked to you, made you see through this…curtain you've sewn around yourself, I… Maybe I could have helped. Maybe I could have stopped this…
"Maybe I could have loved you enough to do whatever needed to be done…
"You're not a failure. I love you."
"'So at this point, I take my leave of the whole thing. It's time to let the precious things bleed away, so that they are nothing and they mean nothing. One person's precious things are dirt to another person.'
TK smiled, a little pained.
"So… Does that mean I'm one of the precious things that has become nothing?"
"'I haven't explained myself properly, but the more I ramble, the more I find I can't.
"' So, I love you little brother, and I'm sorry I did this.
"'I just can't see another way.
"Not 'once-brother'. 'Always-brother'. Nothing you do can change that. Nothing you can do would make me want to. Not even this…"
TK screwed up the letter in his hand again and rested his head on his brother's stomach.
"I wish you'd wake up…" he whispered, tears rolling down his nose onto the bedcovers.
Everybody… Everybody always thought that I was the stronger brother…
But I'm not…
It's you, it was always you…
Be strong for me now…
If I wake up, you've got to promise me you'll be strong for me now…
I'll call my soul back, but you have to be there for me…
Please, be there for me…
You didn't let me down before, you just… You reacted the way anybody would…
I'm the one who should be sorry…
I'm sorry, baby brother…
TK looked up immediately.
"Matt…? Matt!" TK cried, leaping to his feet. Matt's eyes rolled open and he blinked.
"You're awake…" TK said, his voice disappearing into his relief.
Sorry about the abrupt ending :( Suffice to say, Matt survived. I don't recall if this was the actual ending or not, but hopefully it hasn't affected your enjoyment of the fic :)