Hello everyone! Good to be back! It's been a while since my last Mimato fic (A Holiday Makeover) ended, and for those of you who haven't read it yet - as well as my other stories - I suggest you read them when you have time.
Anyways, this is another story I hope you will enjoy. It's a little different from my typical Mimato fic because I included more characters and the plot is a little bit complex. Nevertheless, I know you will like it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon or any of its characters. All names mentioned are purely fiction.
At midnight, Ivy Orimoto suffered her second stroke of the year. Her struggle had been traumatic, but not fatal. It had sent the household into a panic and Mimi, along with Ivy's daughter, into tears. But it wasn't the most significant drama to unfold on that stormy night.
No, the real drama, at least for Mimi Tachikawa, had come hours later when she had returned to her bedroom to find the silver cross glistening on her pillow.
She had scarcely been able to breathe as she backed out the door, then raced down the hall to Gabby's room. Only, she knew before she swung the door wide that her son was gone…that like a thief in the night, his father had breached the house and taken him.
She had prayed she was wrong, had prayed for mercy…a shred of compassion. But there was no mercy, no compassion, only an open window and an empty bed where her son had slept for the past two years.
A gust of wind lifted the curtain at her bedroom window, and in spite of the heat, Mimi shivered. The smell of rain was heavy in the air. Mimi hated storms, but she would rather meet a hurricane head-on than return to Odaiba and face Gabby's father.
In the beginning, all she had wanted was to go back, and for Matt to know about his son. But then the days turned into months, the months into years, and slowly New York had become her home.
Oh god…he knew they created a child…a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed baby boy.
"What will you do, Mimi?"
The voice was soft behind her, as soft as the touch on her shoulder. Mimi turned from her bedroom window to face Ivy's twenty-three year old daughter. Zoe stood hugging herself, her eyes red from crying. Tonight had been a nightmare for both of them.
"Mimi, did you hear me? How will you get Gabby back?" When Mimi didn't answer right away, Zoe squeezed her shoulder. "You're scaring me, Mimi. There's a way to get him back, isn't there? You'll fight, right?"
Zoe had no idea how ridiculous that statement was. She had no idea what lay hidden behind all the closed doors to the past. She had no idea that complexity of the situation, or the danger. But then, why would she? She'd been carefully sheltered from the secrets by layers of lies…twenty-three years of lies.
"When I called to tell my father about Mom's stroke, we had no idea that Gabby had been kidnapped. But he's on his way right now, Mimi. He'll be here in a few hours. We'll tell him what happened and he'll know what to do. He loves Gabby. You know that, right?"
Yes, she knew that. Hiroaki thought the world of Gabby. That wasn't up for debate. What was, however, was how to defuse the time bomb that had started ticking the minute Matt found out he had a son. And that's what would be foremost on Hiro's mind when he learned Gabby had been taken by Matt.
But how could she tell Zoe any of that without explaining the rest? Without telling her that her father, Hiroaki Orimoto, resident of New York City, was also Hiroaki Ishida, a member of the family in the Japanese mafia. And if she went that far to disclose his double identity, she would have to tell Zoe all of it. She would have to confess that Hiroaki was Gabby's grandfather.
Zoe believed she was an only child. She had no idea that she was the half sister to Yamato and Takeru Ishida. She had no idea that her father had been previously married or that he'd been juggling two separate lives with well-crafted scenarios and tightly woven lies to keep them all safe.
When Hiro brought Mimi to New York three years ago, he told Zoe that he hired a live-in nurse to care for Ivy. And that's how Mimi had been disguised…how their household had come to accept her.
Ivy's health over the years had gradually gotten worse and she needed constant care. Mimi had been a nurse in Odaiba for four years. The situation had worked on all levels.
"Talk to me, Mimi. What can I do to help?"
"I don't want your mother to know what happened. She's too fragile. She needs bed rest ad no excitement for at least two days. And your father…when he learns what happened tonight he'll know why I had to…"
"Leave. You are, aren't you?"
"I can't wait, Zoe. I'll go crazy waiting for Hiro to get here."
Zoe reached out and pulled Mimi to the bed. "My mom would have died tonight if you hadn't been here to help her. If you leave, she'll have no one."
Mimi pushed her long bangs out of her eyes. "You're wonderful with your mother, Zoe. You are the reason why your mother has survived all these years. You and your father. She'll be fine until Hiro comes. He'll order a replacement nurse within twenty-four hours."
"Why can't we just inform the authorities and tell them that Gabby's been kidnapped? Tell them that you know who did it and…"
"I can't do that," Mimi said quickly. "Gabby's father is a powerful man in Japan. When I left I didn't tell him I was pregnant. I didn't say where I was going, either. I just left. I had my reasons…good reasons. But…"
"I was always curious about Gabby's father," Zoe admitted. "Is that where he gets his blond hair and blue eyes? Does his father have blond hair?"
"Matt's pure Japanese. His family…" Mimi glanced at Zoe's features, "they all have blond hair and blue eyes."
"Did you run away because he hurt you, Mimi? Was it Gabby's father who gave you the scar?"
Mimi saw Zoe focus on the thin white line on the corner of her left eye…the scar that made her wear an eye patch for months. The scar that nearly blinded her.
"It wasn't like that. Matt never hurt me."
Zoe frowned. "Then, I don't understand."
"I was in an accident." Mimi shivered, remembering Michael's angry eyes as he picked her up and hurled her through her bedroom window. Her ex-husband claimed he hadn't meant to hurt her, he just wanted to knock some sense into her. Zoe didn't need to know the sordid details of Mimi's past, however, or the dangers that threatened her once she returned to Odaiba. And likewise, Mimi didn't want to dwell on her ex-husband…or Matt.
Especially not Matt.
There was no rational explanation for falling in love with him three years ago. It had been one of those crazy chance meetings at a time when she should have been too wary of any man to notice the blue-eyed man in the hospital corridor during one of her unscheduled late night visits.
At the time, she didn't know what caught her attention first, the meticulous way he dressed or his shockingly deep voice. Later, she came to realize it was neither. What had drawn her to Yamato Ishida was the hidden tenderness in the depth of his ocean blue eyes despite his poignant tough-guy image…a goodness and a fairness that defied reason, as well as rumor.
"How soon are you leaving?"
The thought of returning to Odaiba scared Mimi. But she forced a weak smile. "As soon as I can book a flight. While I pack, will you call the airport? I need to get out of here before the storm hits and they cancel all flights."
And before Hiroaki comes home and tries to stop me.
"Will you come back?"
"Yes, I'll be back. With Gabby." Mimi knew that it was the only way to defuse the time bomb…is she and Gabby returned to New York. How she was going to manage that wasn't clear just yet, but she would focus on that once she faced Matt and knew that Gabby was all right.
Zoe shoved her long blond hair away from her face and stood. "I'll call the airport." She headed for the door, then turned back. "I love you and Gabby. I know I've never told you that, Mimi. But it's true. I can't imagine either of you not in my life."
The uncertainty of the situation brought tears to Mimi's eyes and she came off the bed quickly. "I love you, too. I've always wanted a sister and you've been that to me. Thank you for accepting me into your home, Zoe."
"Oh, Mimi." Suddenly Zoe rushed back and threw herself into Mimi's arms. "If you need me, I'm here. Don't forget that…don't forget me."
The drive to the airport was hampered by heavy rain. When Mimi boarded the plane it was pouring, the wind so savage that she was glad she had worn jeans and her dark brown coat.
When the place was finally airborne, she pulled the silver cross from her pocket and stared down at it. Unbidden, the image of Matt, half naked, wearing the silver cross nestled against his chest materialized, and with it a fierce longing that had her feeling anxious as well as frightened.
Three years hadn't dimmed his powerful image or the emotions that had kept the memories alive. If anything, the years just sharpened the picture in her mind's eye, and strengthened her belief that for a brief moment in time she had experienced heaven on earth.
After long hours of flying, a small private aircraft finally made it to Odaiba's local airport. And like the tough Japanese heritage Gabriel Yamato Ishida had been born into, the two year old boy asleep in his father's arms never fussed or blinked an eye as his uncle Takeru landed that sleek white plane in a rush of speed, tires squealing on black tarmac.
As choices went, this one had been easy. There had been risks involved, but then, Matt Ishida was used to taking risks. He was a suit-and-tie businessman, considered the best moneyman in Japan. But tonight, unshaven, wearing jeans and a sweater, he'd been simply a father on a mission to claim what was rightfully his.
Matt reached out and straightened the blanket that covered his sleeping son. He was smaller than he expected. He couldn't help but worry about that. What if the boy was ill, or had been sickly?
When he learned he had a son…a son he never knew existed until his brother had waltzed into his office three days ago and slapped the proof down on his desk…he hadn't believed it was possible. But the proof was no longer just a glossy photo of a blond-haired little boy walking at the park hand-in-hand with his mother. The boy was flesh and blood.
His flesh and blood.
If the boy's mother had been anyone other than Mimi Tachikawa, Matt would have refused to believe the child was his. He had always been careful when he climbed into a woman's bed. He'd never lost his head or forgotten himself. That is, not until he laid eyes on the sexy brunette with the sad caramel eyes.
No, Gabriel was definitely his son. He was as certain of that as he was of why Mimi left Japan three years ago. He had always thought she vanished out of fear of her ex-husband. But now he knew that wasn't the case. Pregnant with his child…an Ishida child…she ran to escape him and what their son would surely become if she stayed.
As hard as it was to accept, the proof was asleep in front of him…the proof of Mimi's betrayal.
"He looks just like you when you were little. I remember thinking that they day I photographed him at the park with Mimi."
"That's what Tai said, too." Matt turned to his brother, who stood in the doorway leaning heavily into the jamb. "Tai just left. But for the past hour, he's been sitting here staring at Gabriel and shaking his head."
"The likeness is amazing," TK agreed.
Matt studied his brother. Takeru's eyes were bloodshot, which meant his back pain was giving him hell again, which meant he'd been drinking to compensate. He hated to see his brother drinking much. He survived a serious beating a few months ago. Hospitalized, he lost a kidney in his fight to survive.
Matt glanced back at his son. "I never realized how small a two year old is. He looked bigger in the picture."
TK grinned. "He's going to take some work. You up for that or do you want to take him back, big brother? Have you changed your mind?"
Matt admitted he didn't know the first thing about raising his son, but the boy was his. That's all he'd been thinking about for three days.
His brother told him during their trip that he would back him in whatever decision he made concerning Gabriel. He said, "I'll be behind you or in front of you. Walking in the front door, or going in through a window. I know all the guards' routine. We should be able to enter the grounds without any trouble. Then again, if you want to make trouble, I brought along a gun."
They'd gone in quietly through an open window off a balcony on the second floor. They were going in after his son, not to start a war. He didn't want to frighten Gabriel or endanger him by flying bullets.
It had only taken a few minutes to locate his son's bedroom. Mimi's room, too, though he hadn't found her inside. His window of opportunity had been tight. They had ten minutes max to get in and back out. That's why he had left behind the cross on Mimi's pillow. If she cared at all about their son, he knew the cross would bring her back to Japan.
"I need to hire a live-in nanny. Can you help me arrange some interviews tomorrow?"
"I'll get on it first thing. If we leave him alone, you think he'll be all right? We need to talk."
Matt looked down at his son. "He's finally sleeping, but he keeps asking for his bear."
"There's a kids' store in the lobby, I'll see what I can find. Are you ready to listen to what I have to say?"
"I was ready three days ago. You're the one who wanted to wait until after my son was here."
"I didn't want what I had to tell you to interfere with what was most important."
"Meaning my decision to claim my son?"
"He's yours." TK hung his hand on his hip. "If I had a son, I would want him with me."
"I'm ready for whatever comes at me," Matt told him. "I'll fight the devil, or anyone else who tries to come between me and what is mine."
"He's a good-looking boy, Matt. Worth fighting for. Come, let's talk and make some plans."
Matt's gaze went to his son. "I'll leave the door open and the hall light on. If he wakes up in the dark and starts crying, I don't know what I'll do."
"Guess you'll get your chance to play daddy. Rub his back and tell him a story."
Matt glanced at TK, then scowled when he saw his brother wearing an amused grin. "I don't know any stories."
"Sure you do. Remember the one Yuko used to tell us? The one about the purple badass dragon who turned out to be a nice guy?"
Yuko Kamiya was their best friend's mother. As young boys they'd spent countless hours with Tai and Yuko Kamiya. They had adopted Yuko as they mother they never had, and Tai as the once-in-a-lifetime friend who hadn't cared one bit what their name was, or what their father did for a living.
Twenty-five years later, nothing had changed. Yuko was still baking her boys apple pies and buying them birthday presents. And Tai, recently promoted as head of Odaiba's Special Investigations Unit, was still their best friend.
Matt tucked the blanket under his son's chin, then followed his brother to the living room. When TK made a detour and slipped behind the bar, Matt said, "I thought you were going to give up booze. Or at least, back off a little."
"I changed my mind. The way I see it, what's the difference if I get addicted to painkillers or scotch? You might need a stiff one yourself once you hear what I have to tell you."
Matt eased himself down on the red damask sofa that snaked around a massive Italia-marble coffee table.
Fifty stories up, Matt's penthouse covered the entire top floor of Ishida Towers. The ceilings were eighteen-feet high and the furniture was plush and oversize in shades of red and gold. The long bar was imported cherry wood. A collection of large mirrors surrounding it and throughout the suite opened up the already extravagant space, as did the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the city.
Like the living area, the kitchen was a sprawling wonder filled with the latest conveniences and a number of skylights. A breakfast nook to the left of the kitchen offered a view of the city at sunrise, and the elegant dining room that jutted outward like a glass egg to the right allowed for a breathtaking sunset view and a spectacular skylight panorama after dark.
When TK joined his brother, he brought Matt a glass of scotch and placed it on the coffee table. As he made himself comfortable on a gold tapestry chair, he said, "Trust me, you're going to need that."
"So, tell me what you know…"
A/N: Sorry I had to end it this way. It's quite a pretty long chapter, and as much as I want to continue I'm afraid you'll have to wait for chapter two.
What do you guys think? Is it worth continuing? Please leave your reviews and tell me what you think. If you have any questions about anything just let me know.