Love Comes in Funny Packages

Episode 22

The Cigarette Blues

Her body was racked with pain, her mind was a confused mush and trying to understand what had happened, her heart ached and she felt cold. She knew she was lying down on leaves, her eyes were half-open and she could clearly see brown leaves beneath her hands and around her. She heard the sound of a bird in the distance, the cry of a normal bird, not a digital one. It was so strange to feel cold after living in such a warm and lushes area; it was so strange to think that she was now in the Human World.

Through her somewhat milky vision she was able to see thick trees, leaves falling to the ground and a squirrel ran towards her, sniffing her hand laid beside her. It sniffed her hand before suddenly scuttling away and she felt something wet on the side of her face, she turned her face to see a furry brown dog sniff the side of her face. It suddenly licked the side of her face, barking at its master.

"What is? What have you found, boy?" he called.

The man approached his dog and found the person laid out on the floor, "Oh my..." he gasped. Is it... no...? You've been missing for years!"

He knelt beside her and helped her sit up, noticing the dark expression on her blood covered face. The dog sat on its hind legs beside his master, the man gently nudged the girl, forcing her to look at him and not at the ground. Slowly her eyes lazily turned to look at the man, he was in his mid-thirties with black hair that had a spiky side fringe, and his eyes were dark while his skin was a slight olive colour.

"Serena," he said. "Serena Usagi?"

"Oh," Serena smiled weakly. "Hello, Mr. Suzuki. I haven't seen you since my last biology lesson."

Mr. Suzuki looked Serena over, looking at the dead look in her eyes and the cuts and bruises all over her face, his eyes lingering on the three scars on her one cheek. What had happened to her in the two years she had been missing and why was she here? Of all the places in the world she could have reappeared, she was found back in the place she had vanished in.

Serena slowly got to her feet to Mr. Suzuki's surprise, turned the other way and bolted towards some part in the forest. He gasped and chased after her, his dog following. To his disbelief she was much faster than a grown man, faster than she had been before, he remembered seeing her in P.E and he knew how slow she could be. Serena stopped by the edge of a deep hole in the ground, falling to her knees and starring into the dark hole. Mr. Suzuki stopped beside her, out of breath slightly and with his dog panting beside him.

"Where are you going, Serena?" he breathed. "I have to take you home; Trisha will want to know I've found you."

Serena said nothing. She could feel that the Digi-Portal was gone, she still had all her Digimon senses and strength, so she could feel if there were any portals around, and there none. Serena was stranded in the Human World, but at least Yumiko was gone. And so was her new home, her new family, Beelzemon. Serena broke down into something between tears and screams, her form shook violently and Mr. Suzuki wasn't sure why she seemed so upset.

Wasn't it a good thing that Serena was home with her family?

...

After Serena had calmed down a bit Mr. Suzuki had taken her to the local police station, there her wounds had been cleaned and bandaged, and she was then placed in a white room with a one way mirror and sat behind a desk. They allowed her mother Trisha and step-father Ryu to see her before they began the interview, the twins- Yuki and Yuri- were dropped off at they're aunt's and would see Serena later. It was fairly late in the day when Trisha and Ryu got there, Trisha burst into the room and the fair haired woman wrapped her arms around Serena instantly.

"I couldn't believe it when the police phoned and told me you had been found!" she cried. "I'll have to thank Mr. Suzuki when I see him."

Ryu, a man with dark hair that had tinge of purple to it and crystal blue eyes, stood silently beside Trisha. Serena had never liked Ryu or the children he had helped conceived with Trisha, in fact Serena despised him and wasn't all that fond of Yuri and Yuki, so he knew to stay his distant and not upset Serena further. Trisha pulled away from her daughter's limp embrace, wiping the tears of joy from her face and smiling.

The smile vanished off her face when she saw the look on her daughter's face, "Serena?" she asked. "Honey, what's wrong?"

Serena looked up at her mother, Yumiko's voice in her head; 'Serena, honey.' Why did her mother have to remind her of Yumiko? Serena should be happy to see her mother again after so long, but in fact Serena was hating every minute she spent with the humans. She wanted to go home.

"Please don't call me 'honey'," Serena demanded. "You remind me of someone I detest."

Trisha flinched, "Oh," she looked at Ryu. "Alright."

Trisha and Ryu sat either side of Serena as a police officer and psychologist came in, the police officer was an aging man with a kind face and wispy white hair, the psychologist was a middle aged woman with nut brown hair and round glasses and dressed in a blouse with a long black skirt, in her hand was notepad and in the other a ball point pen. Both sat before them, the police officer laying his hands on the table.

"Hello, Serena," he greeted. "You may not remember me, but I'm Seargent Borsch, I was the man who arrested your father Yamaki all those years ago. And this is Dr. Gaia; she'll be asking you some questions, if you find any offensive then please feel free to tell us."

"Okay," Serena nodded.

"Now," Seargent Borsch began. "Two years ago you were kidnapped; your friend Charlaine, or 'Shazz' as you call her, said a Digimon was chasing you and was the one to grab you. Is that true?"

"No," Serena automatically replied. "It was a man... he had a sick sense of humour."

"Meaning what?" Dr. Gaia asked while writing something down into her notepad.

Serena knew that she had to cover for her friends, lie to the authorities about what had really happened and make up a false truth. Serena didn't want humans to hate Digimon again; she had to blame everything on a human as she knew they would easily believe what she said. Humans were so gullible at times.

"The man who kidnapped me had been following me for awhile," Serena lied. "He knew that I had a fascination with a certain Digimon so constantly dressed like that Digimon in order to make me feel more comfortable."

"The wounds you have suffered are a clear sign of abuse," Dr. Gaia pointed out. "Did he abuse you in anyway? And the three scars on your face, did he release some sort of animal onto you?"

"The cuts and bruises aren't off him," Serena argued. "Their off... someone else, I'm not too sure who the person was, but I knew she was a woman who didn't like me. The scars are off an animal, but he only ever released it once."

"What kind of animal?" Sergeant Borsch.

"A wildcat," Serena replied quickly.

The interview continued from there; Sergeant Borsch and Dr. Gaia asked where the man had taken her, if she had ever seen his face and how she had escaped. Serena had lied saying that she was unaware of where exactly she had been taken; all she knew was that she had been forced to sleep in a basement that had been converted into a comfortable room. She had never seen his face as he was always disguised as a Digimon or wearing some type of mask and the man had drugged her and left her in the forest after it became apparent he no longer desired her company.

Dr. Gaia finished dotting down what Serena had said and nodded once, "Alright, one more question then you can return home with your mother and step-father," she said. "Did this man ever sexually abuse you?"

"E-excuse me," Ryu spoke up. "But I think that's inappropriate, Serena is only a young child."

"I'm seventeen," Serena corrected him. "I'm hardly a child now."

Ryu opened his mouth, but quickly closed it.

Serena looked at Dr. Gaia, unsure of how to answer exactly. Serena had made love to Beelzemon on the night of her seventeenth, she was no longer a virgin, but could she really say 'yes' to that question? This man she had made up was technically Beelzemon and she had tried to change her experience in the Digital World into something horrible, which it really wasn't in Serena's opinion.

But Serena wanted to say yes for some reason, even if it was to only remember those sweet moments of love making with him.

"No," she answered. "He didn't touch me."

Dr. Gaia wrote something into her notepad, she stood quickly, "Mr. and Mrs. Ishida," she began. "Will you please see me outside the interview room for a few minutes?"

"Of course," Trisha answered.

Trisha and Ryu left the interview room with Dr. Gaia, leaving Sergeant Borsch and Serena alone to share a quick glance. Outside the interview room, standing beside the one-way mirror, Dr. Gaia looked at Serena silently for a second or two then faced them.

"After analyzing what Serena has said and how she reacted to each question I have come to the conclusion that Serena has 'Stockholm Syndrome'," Dr. Gaia said.

"What?" Trisha snapped. "Don't be absurd! My daughter has been imprisoned by some freak for the past two years and you tell us this?!"

"I know it must be hard to believe," Dr. Gaia continued. "But the way she reacted to the last question proves my theory, when I asked if she had been sexually abused she took quite awhile to answer, when she did she said 'no'. I could tell just by looking at her that was a lie, she did have a sexual relation with that man but it wasn't forced. And every other thing she said was a lie also."

"What else was a lie?" Ryu asked, interested.

"When asked how she escaped she said he drugged her and left her in the forest because her company was 'no longer desired'," Dr. Gaia answered. "I saw how upset she looked, she managed to escape by herself and doing so has terribly upset her. I suggest that when you take her home you keep an eye on her and see how she reacts to daily things, she seems a little... confused by everything happening around her, she isn't used to this kind of human interaction."

"Maybe Charlaine, Tomos, Maximus and Paul can see her tomorrow," Ryu suggested. "It'll be nice for Serena to her friends."

"Good idea," Trisha smiled. "I'll phone they're parents when we get home."

Dr. Gaia bid them farewell and left, leaving Ryu and Trisha to take they're child home.

...

The Next Morning

Shazz, Tom, Max and Pen had really changed over the past two years, just as Serena had thought. Shazz, Serena's dark haired and blue eyed friend, had grown a few inches over the years, making her slightly taller than Serena. Tom, with his curly blonde hair and baby blue eyes, had became sturdy and well built, his arms bulging with muscles and his stomach with well toned abs. Max's hair was even more blonde and spiky than before, he now wore rectangular glasses and he seen even more tall and lean. Pen seemed much more serious than before, his eyes were dark, his hair a light brown and styled into a posh cut while his face had become round shaped.

"O.M.G," Shazz looked Serena over as they entered her dusty and unused room. "Look at you, Serena! You have boobs, and hips, and a figure! WOW, your hot!"

"Uh..." Serena blinked owlishly. "Thanks."

How come I had never noticed my figure before? Serena frowned.

Pen folded his arms over his chest, looking Serena over with a curious glance. "Shazz is right," he murmured to Tom. "Serena really is hot."

"I heard that," Serena teased. "And your not so bad looking yourself now, Pen!"

Tom laughed and punched the blushing Pen's shoulder; Max fell into a bean bag, bringing up dust. They all laughed at the face he pulled, Shazz ruffled Max's hair playfully and he jumped to his feet.

"Geez, Seren," Max coughed. "Couldn't you have cleaned this place up before you had guests?... Seren?"

Serena had become deadly still, starring at the floor silently with a glassy eyed expression in her eyes. Shazz shared a quiet glance with Pen, he shrugged and Shazz gently tugged on Serena's arm.

"Serena?" she asked. "Are you okay?"

'Thanks, Seren.'

'Seren... I want a nickname too.'

'Yeah? How 'bout Shiny? Or Princess Pwetty Pants?'

Why did everything seem to remind her of her real family? Even one word set her straight on the edge, making her heartbreak and crushing her soul with every second she was reminded of the life she had to sacrafise in order to save the lives of so many. Serena shook her head and went straight to her desk, forcing open one of her draws. The draw fell to the floor and all her Digimon cards fell to the floor.

Her friends watched her silently, watching as she picked up cards and threw them aside if they were not what she wanted, she was looking for specific cards. Shazz slowly approached Serena and knelt beside her, looking at the intense and focused look in her eyes. Serena paid no attention to her friend, all she could think about was her true family, she could still clearly her they're voices and she had a vivid image of everything that had happened over the past two years.

'I'm sorry if I hurt you Serena Usagi... If there's anything I can do to repay you, then tell me.'

'All I want is for you to be my friend, deal?'

'Deal.'

'My names Serena Usagi by the way.'

'I'm Dorumon.'

'Serena Usagi meet Duftmon.'

'I love ya.'

Finally, after minutes of scrounging through her cards, she had six cards laid out before her; Duftmon, Beelzemon, Dorumon, Magnamon, Crusadermon and BlackDuftmon. If only Serena had a card of Lilithmon, then her collection of sorts would be complete. It wasn't as if her family was with her, but it was close enough.

"Sorry about that," Serena apologized. "I just wanted to make sure they were still here. You know Yuki and Yuri, they're always stealing my cards."

"If you say so, Serena," Shazz shot a fleeting look towards the three boys stood behind them, they merely looked at her sadly, unable to say anything.

...

After her friends had left later that day, Serena had gone through all of her Digimon stuff; all of her posters, plushi's, figurines, cards and even her own drawings of her family were placed on her bed. She now had plenty of things to provide her with comfort, she grabbed her Magnamon plushi and fell to the floor, squeezing it tightly to her chest and sobbed silently into the plush.

"Oh Magnamon," she cried. "You always knew what to say to me when I was in need, what do I do now? Where do I go?"

Outside her room Trisha heard Serena's sobs, but not her words. She closed Serena's door silently and walked into the kitchen, sitting behind the table and clenching her hands together. Ryu, who had been reading the paper, folded it and placed it on the table upon seeing her distressed face.

"Something wrong?" he asked.

"Maximus told me that Serena wasn't acting like herself when they were over," Trisha answered. "He said she kept crying to herself when she thought they weren't looking, she wouldn't smile at the things she usually would smile at and she asked them not to call her 'Seren', even though that's what they've been calling her for years."

"As much as I hate to say this," Ryu began. "But maybe Dr. Gaia was right, maybe Serena is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I have her number, maybe we should arrange for her to come over to see Serena."

"Yeah," Trisha agreed. "That sounds like a good idea."

Ryu walked towards the phone attached to the wall, he pulled it off the receiver and began to dial the number. They heard a knock at the door, Ryu continued to dial and pressed the phone to his ear as Trisha went to answer the door. She composed her face and opened the door, her calm face became a look of horror.

"Y-Yamaki?" she gasped. "What the hell are you going here?!"

Yamaki stood in the doorway, he walked with a crutch and as much as Trisha hated Yamaki, she was horrified by the condition he was in. Dressed in shorts and a baggy shirt, not what he usually wore and with a broken pair of glasses on, he smiled at her calmly.

"Hello Trisha," he greeted. "I've come to see Serena."

"How did you know she was here?" Trisha asked.

So Yumiko was the one to be destroyed, Yamaki thought. Thank the Sovereigns.

"Don't worry about that," Yamaki answered. "All you need to know is that I can help Serena, I have a good guess of how she must be feeling right now."

Trisha scowled, thinking of what Yamaki said for a few seconds, she called into the house, "Ryu! Hang up!"

"Why?" Ryu called back. "I've finally gotten through!"

"It doesn't matter," Trisha said. "There's someone here who I know can help Serena."

"Ryu, huh?" Yamaki chuckled.

Trisha looked at him, "Yes, that's my husband's name," she snapped. "We even have children together."

"I know," Yamaki walked in. "Serena told me all about them, she said that Ryu was an ass."

"Wh-what?" Trisha stared at him in horror. "You've known... all this time where Serena was?"

"Of course," Yamaki smiled.

"You asshole!" she screamed. "You complete and utter jackass! I've been through hell while you've known all along where Serena was!? Why didn't you tell me?!"

"I will tell you, I promise Trisha," Yamaki answered. "But what I tell you has to remain between us, you cannot tell Ryu, your other kids, the police, anyone. Trust me, Serena will be annoyed if you do."

The sound of loud footsteps could be heard and Serena came running down the stairs, still carrying her Magnamon plush. She stopped at the bottom of the stairs, absorbing the form of Yamaki, before bursting into tears and jumping into Yamaki's arms. Yamaki smiled sadly and stroked her hair soothingly, making soothing noises. Ryu walked into the hallway, he saw Yamaki and swore.

"What's he doing here?" he asked.

"He can help Serena," Trisha answered. "Ryu, I need you to take Yuki and Yuri out, take them to see that new film."

"What? Why?" Ryu questioned.

"Yamaki can help Serena and tell me where she's been, but not if your here," Trisha explained. "Knowing him he wants this to remain between us because he and I are Serena's biological parents and I will keep it a secret, I'm afraid."

"Fine," Ryu gently kissed her cheek. "I'll stay out of your way for awhile."

He went up the stairs quickly and the trio quickly congregated into the kitchen. Yamaki sat down carefully, leaning his crutch against the wall. Serena sat beside Trisha, still firmly holding her Magnamon plushi. They waited until Ryu had the twins ready and left before beginning.

"Now," Yamaki began. "Trish, I need you to promise me and Serena that this remains between us."

Trisha looked at Serena, she saw in Serena's eyes that if she didn't agree to keep this a secret and Serena found out, her daughter would never forgive her.

"Fine," she sighed. "I won't tell."

"Okay," Yamaki began. "Serena was in the Digital World..."

Yamaki told Trisha everything; telling her of the expedition to the Digital World that resulted in the creation of Serena Usagi and Yumiko Asuka, how Yumiko had convinced the Demon Lord's to kidnap Serena and offer her the deal of joining them and becoming a Digimon, how Serena became friends and ally to the Royal Knights, how Serena fell in love with Beelzemon, the trouble with Zhuqiaomon, Serena finally becoming a Digimon and defeating Yumiko and how the resulting explosion was how Serena arrived in the Human World.

"How come your here, Dad?" Serena asked. "If I was you I would have stayed in the Digital World."

"I did it for two reasons," Yamaki began. "One, if Yumiko was to be the one to survive in the battle I wanted to make sure she suffered for ending your life and prevent her from ever activating her plan. Two, if you survived I wanted to be here waiting for you and help you find a way back to the Digital World."

A smile came across Serena's face, her face glowing suddenly as Yamaki's hopeful words filled her head. Yamaki looked at Trisha, she had been quiet throughout the entire conversation and she seemed incredibly upset. It was understandable why, but it wasn't for the reason Yamaki first thought.

"What's wrong Trisha?" she asked.

"Serena could have found a way home from the Digital World the entire time she was there," Trisha answered. "Yet she chose to stay to become one of them, she calls you 'dad' even though she shouldn't and now she wants to return to the place which had caused her so much pain." she turned to look at Serena with tears in her eyes. "Why, Serena? Why do you want to be with them so badly? Why did you cut your gorgeous hair? Was it because you knew it reminded you of me, a pitiful human?"

Serena flinched, anger growing inside of her, "I didn't cut my hair because it reminded me of humans!" she snapped. "I cut it because I wanted it cut! I want to be one of them because I love them! I've never felt more at home than I have with them, they've never done anything to hurt me like you have, and Yamaki loves me despite what I am. He took a beating just in order to keep me safe, you knew I hated Ryu yet you married him! Do you realize how much that hurt me?!"

"But I never turned you into a freak!" Trisha slammed her fist onto the table.

Serena went silent, the anger leaving her face. "Is that what you think I am?" she asked. "You think I'm a freak?"

"I... I didn't mean it like that," Trisha cried. "You... your not my little girl, I don't who or what you are anymore."

"Trisha!" Yamaki snapped. "That's unfair! She's our daughter Serena Usagi, she was born half Digimon, but she's still our little girl."

"She's not 'our' little girl," Trisha argued. "She was my sweet little Serena Usagi, a young girl with gorgeous long hair and a bright future. Now she's your child, a half human half Digimon thing with no future unless its at a demon's side."

Serena quickly got to her feet, putting the Magnamon plush on the table and starring at the table. "Okay then," she said quietly. "I guess Yumiko was right about how unfairly you treat Digimon, I'm not even a full Digimon and Yamaki's only human, yet you treat us like vermin because of the company we keep. If that's how you feel then I'll go, I'll leave with Yamaki."

"Fine then," Trisha said emotionlessly. "Go."

Serena grabbed the Magnamon plushi and ran up the stairs, leaving Yamaki to hobble to his feet and stare silently at Trisha.

"That seemed awful rough, Trish," he said. "It wasn't until the end I realized what you was doing."

"I knew as soon as she saw you that Serena wanted to be back in that place," Trisha folded her arms over her chest. "And after what Dr. Gaia told me I knew that the only thing that could make Serena happy was to be with that guy, that Demon Lord, but I didn't want her to feel like she had to feel bad for leaving me and her friends behind again."

"Your a brave woman," Yamaki commented. "Few mothers would be willing to hurt they're daughters in order to help them, Serena will one day figure out what you did and will thank you if she could. I don't want you to hurt over what you've done."

"As long as Serena's happy, I'm happy," Trisha smiled.

Standing outside the kitchen, a small smile spread across Serena's face at her mother's words. She wiped tears from her eyes and looked at the Magnamon plush in her hands, "Well," she whispered. "I promise to be home soon guys, just wait for me."

...

Serena packed all of her things into a suitcase, she didn't want to be short on clothes and other such things like she had when she first entered the Digital World, she wished her mother farewell and set off with Yamaki. They walked down town before coming to a large building, an apartment building. They entered the neat and clean building and took the elevator to the top floor, they walked down the corridor before Yamaki pulled some keys out of his pocket and entered the apartment.

He gave her no time to look around, instead he led her into one of the spare rooms. The room had a huge generator that took up the left side of the room, thick wires ran from the generator into the wall and into a bulky computer situated in the centre of the room. Serena noticed upon close examination that inside the generator was a single Digi-Core, it seemed it was the thing that powered the computer.

As Serena walked into the computer and knelt in front of it, Yamaki lit up a cigarette, taking a long drag on the cigarette before exhaling deeply through his noise.

"What's all this?" Serena asked him.

"I made a deal with Fanglongmon and Zhuqiaomon," Yamaki reminded her. "If you did survive then I had to inform them through this computer, a few Datamon arrived with me and helped set this up. They then left and helped set something similar up in Fanglongmon's castle."

"That's great!" Serena smiled. "So all we have to do is send them a message and they'll open a portal to get us home, right?"

Yamaki nodded, "Yes," he said. "But we only have one problem."

"What's that?" Serena asked.

"The Digi-Core powers the machine and is the thing that sends the message to Fanglongmon's own computer," he explained. "But the problem is that the message can only be sent during certain times, the Digital World can only pick up the message whenever the weather changes to accordance, for example when a sandstorm picks up in the desert. We'll have to wait in order to return home."

Serena looked back the screen, looking at the flashing message on screen; All systems green. Communication: Failed. It seemed so unfair that Serena had to wait to return home, after all she had endured she couldn't catch a break for once in her life? Serena sighed heavily, knowing she would have to endure life as a human until the time was right, she suddenly felt extremely blue.

She would wait, she had to be patient, if Yumiko could wait two years for Serena then she could wait a few days, or weeks or months if it was necessary.

The End... For Now...