Matt and Tai were fighting. Again. For what felt like the millionth time in that first week they were fighting. It seemed like their pointless banters never ended. Sure they were the most leadrly type but that didn't mean they could make the decisions for every one else around them. As a group they were supposed to discuss what they're next move was.
Inside the cave that they had decided to stay in for the night, Sora sat against one of the walls and sighed. "I don't know why those two can't just get over themselves already. I mean, hello. We've been here for four days and have been doing alright without all their yelling." She glanced around the dark space, receiving nods from the other five who were also reduced to their almost daily quarreling. Things had been rough on them their first time in the Digiworld but they were older now for God's sake. They knew their way around for the most part and the digimon had all grown as well. With the incessant fighting they were more likely to kill each other than get the entire group slaughtered.
"Those two need to grow up a little bit. They fight like children!" Joe muttered, voicing just about everyone's thoughts aloud. "T.K is more mature than those two dim-bulbs out there."
T.K grinned as he placed Patamon in his lap. "Matt is always like this. He's just mad 'cause Tai is probably right!"
"That may be but I can't get any beauty rest with those two out there having a screaming match!" Mimi complained as she pulled the brim of her hat down over her eyes. "Is there a reason we brought them back with us this time? We should have learned four years ago that those two just can't get along."
Joe grinned now too. "Even if they can't get along we really are a team. Without those two we might as well just dive Devimon our lives on a platter made of gold." The lame joke made Sora grin a little bit. Even if the sixteen year old was geeky and a bookworm, in the end he was still a great friend to have. T.K was still laughing, long after the effect of the joke had worn off. Outside, the aforementioned boys still stood arguing.
"We've gone up that mountain once, Matt! We can easily climb it again. We've gotten smarter and know how to protect ourselves now!" Tai screamed, curling his hands into fists. "And we're older now!"
Matt had his arms crossed over his chest, glaring at Tai with angry eyes. When he replied it was obvious that Tai was making him more and more irritated with every word he sputtered. "I don't care if we're older! Now I don't only have T.K's life to worry about. We have to think of everyone else too while we're at it!"
"Joe was the one who climbed the mountain in first place! And Sora was the one who climbed it with me to go help him! And Mimi is different now. I'm sure she could climb it, no problem. Why do you insist we don't climb, huh? Are you scared or something?" Tai argued, shuffling forward a little.
"I'm not scared! What's the point of climbing it anyway? We already know what this place looks like. Or did you forget we damn near got killed a few hundred times when we first came here?" Matt gritted his teeth and forced his arms to stay in place. "If there's no point then we're not doing it." He stated firmly.
"So we're just going to sit here and do nothing?" Tai screamed, inching forward again. "If we were going to sit and do nothing we could have stayed home." His fury was starting to well up inside him again. Why did Matt always think he was right? He wasn't any older, though maybe a bit smarter.
"Then why didn't you?! No one wants you here anyway!" Matt screamed right back. "All you do is order every one around like you're the boss when you aren't! You're nothing but a teenage brat."
Tai felt his fists curl a little tighter and he had to physically fight to keep them at his chest. "So what does that make you? You're a self proclaimed cool guy, who whenever someone says something you don't like you go off in a huff. You remind me of a girl during her period sometimes you know that?!" As soon as the words slipped out of his mouth he regretted them. He hadn't meant what he said.
A single tear rolled down Matt's cheek, whether or not it was because of anger or sadness he didn't know. Those words had stung. "The only reason I'm like that," he said through gritted teeth, "is because I'm worried about T.K. I'm worried about every one's safety but if you're going to be a jerk about I'm leaving." Turning on his heel the boy stalked away with his shoulders hunched forward and his fists balled up in his pants pockets.
"Matt, wait!" Tai called after him. "I didn't mean it, honest! Come back Matt!" More quietly he added, "Please?" The blond neither turned nor responded to Tai's pleas. Instead he continued on as though he hadn't heard a word. When he was gone out of sight, Tai lowered his fists and his bottom lip began to quiver just the tiniest bit. Why did this always happen when they argued? Sure he knew that Matt was a self-proclaimed cool person but Tai didn't have to say it out loud. Just like Tai knew that everyone thought he was a pain because he was the one always trying to lead even though he rarely had a clue as to what they should or shouldn't be doing. "Gosh dang it Matt! You didn't have to storm off again. And anyway you just proved my last point right." Both angry and irritated now, he shuffled back to the cave, keeping his eyes on the ground as he went.
Nearing the cave he heard laughter. Not wanting to enter, Tai forced his feet to keep moving and placed a fake smile on his face that was sure to be obvious. When he entered immediately Sora asked, "Hey Tai. Where's Matt?"
"How the hell should I know?" He replied, starting towards the back of the cave where he could be alone.
"What do you mean you don't know?" Mimi huffed, placing her hands on her hips. "Matt could be in danger if we leave him by himself with Gabumon."
Growling Tai said, "Matt can take care of himself. And if he can't, good riddance!"
"Tai you don't mean that!" T.K stood up and walked over to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Why can't you and Matt get along, huh? We need to stick together even if you guys do fight!" Although he was the youngest, he was definitely one of the smartest and definitely had the right idea. But the older boy was too irritated to agree.
"Well then if you guys are so worried, go look for him!" He roughly shook the small hand on his shoulder off and went as deep into the cave as possible. The others watched him go in a shocked silence.
After a minute Patamon said, "Even if we are worried about Matt, right now I think we should be more worried about Tai, doncha think?" The others nodded. There was so much tension in the air let over from their heated argument it could have been cut with a knife.
As an awkward silence began to fill the air Joe declared, "You know what? As the oldest here I think I have a certain responsibility. I'll go look for Matt. Why don't the rest of you stay here and try and talk some sense into that thickheaded boy."
Izzy shook his head. "No. I think more than just one of us should go and search for him. Especially T.K. Matt is his brother after all. And it was pretty obvious that Tai didn't want anything to do with the girls, though for the life of me I don't understand why. The nine of you, Mimi, Sora, T.K, Joe, Patamon, Gomamon, Palamon, Gabumon and Biyomon, you go look for Matt." Though the situation didn't make sense, everyone nodded. The computer geek did always seem to have a point. The nine of them hurried out of the cave, leaving Tentamon and Izzy with Tai.
Slowly the two of them crept towards the back where they could hear Tai muttering swear words to himself, although most of them were unclear and hardly what one would call understandable. When he was close Izzy called out, "Tai?" The brown haired boy didn't reply. In the little circle of space he had he continued to curse and kick the ground with the toe of his shoes. "Tai!" Izzy said again, louder this time. The boy looked up for a second but went back to what he'd been doing. Sighing Izzy began talking, even if Tai wasn't listening. "You're as stubborn as a mule sometimes I hope you know. And everyone is worried about you! If you two didn't fight so often we would never have this issue of that bonehead walking off on his own."
"Shut up." Was the only response he got, which he was still pleased with. Maybe he was listening... For once.
"Well it's true. The digiworld may be safe from Devimon but we still have the rest of the digiworld to worry about which means we have to work together. There is no I in team, Tai."
"Yes Tai! You should really listen to what Izzy is saying. You two can't do this on your own and it would be no good if the Digimasters split either." Tentamon chimed in. "This world needs all six of you! Together."
Tai stopped pacing and glared at them, steel in voice when he muttered, "I don't care what this world needs! All I want to do is go home and never have to see his face again."
The small bug digimon looked offended. He'd never heard such harsh words out of anyone's mouth! Not even from the most vile of digimon. Upset now, he backed away, towards the entrance. Seeing this Izzy became angry, "You know what Tai? If all you're going to do is complain then you might as well go home! It's pretty obvious that, even if this world needs you, you don't need it." The shocked look on Tai's face almost made Izzy want to laugh. Of course if he'd been Tai he would have been shocked too. He rarely, if ever, raised his voice.
"I-I'm sorry Izzy. And Tentamon. I really didn't mean what I said." The boy said as his head drooped. "I just don't know what to do anymore! Matt and I just can't work together. Maybe we could before but..." Tears started sliding down his face, catching him by surprise. "What? I'm crying." He muttered as he tried to wipe them away. "But..." His words were stopped by a loud sob that escaped his throat.
Izzy stared in awe at the sight before him. There were many times the others had caught Matt crying but never had they seen Tai cry, no matter how desperate their situation was. He'd always been stubborn and hard headed... And... Well, level headed (when the two weren't fighting). "Are you okay?" He asked, furrowing his eyebrows a little. Since when were fifteen year old boys so emotional? He didn't understand why the two of them couldn't just hit each other and get it over with like normal people did. Soon their fights were turn into an all out war (or if worst came to worst, an all out bitch fight).
"Fine. Just fine. Anyway let's go help the others look for Matt. He can't have gotten too far." Rubbing away his tears he headed for the mouth of the cave but was stopped dead in his tracks by an ear piercing scream. "That scream!" His eyes widened in fear.
"It's Sora!" Tentamon exclaimed as his wings begun to flap faster. "I think those guys are in trouble! Let's hurry before something bad happens!"
"Or something worse!" Izzy corrected him as he pushed past the frozen Tai. He ran towards the familiar voice. What had happened?
It took Tai a second to move again. "Augumon, are you here?" He cried, searching the cave. His digimon appeared from behind one of the rocks, yawning leisurely as though he'd heard nothing.
"Sure I'm here Tai. Where else would I be?" The orange dinosaur looking creature replied.
"We have to go! The others are in trouble." The simple sentence made him perk up immediately as he started out of the cave. His master was close behind, worry etching deep lines into the still young face. The two of them ran to where he'd first heard Sora scream. When they arrived it was a sight to behold. The nine that had left the cave before them were sprawled out on the ground, separated from one another. Sora and T.K were both bleeding a little bit but it was nothing to worry about. Their digimon stood over them protectively, staring wide eyed at what appeared to be yet another digimon. But for once in their lives a black gear wasn't stuck in its back. Apparently this one had been born bad. Like Devimon. Joe huddled over Mimi who was cowering, shivering, by near-by trees. The only one missing was Matt. And Gabumon.
"Tai, help us!" Mimi screamed frantically as a cloud of dust went up her nose, causing her to cough. "Those two are hurt and I'm afraid I can't move right now! My legs feel like sour pudding."
"We found him but he's in pretty bad shape." Joe cried, looking more scared than he had in years. "You've gotta help us out here, Tai. I think someone might really die this time!" His eyes screamed fear and worry and pessimism. Which was certainly not a good feeling to have at the time.
"Augumon, can you digivolve?"
"Sure can!" He said as he stepped forward. Then he was engulfed in light as he cried out, "Augumon digivolve to Greymon!" Soon a new, but certainly recognizable, digimon stood before them. "Stand back Tai." A much lower, and much gravely, voice told him. "Well now then it's by time I took care of you isn't it?" His mouth opened before he exclaimed, "Nova blast!" A large, sun like, orb came from his mouth and it rushed towards the intended target. Luckily it hit him dead on. Unluckily it didn't seem to affect him one bit.
"Keep trying Greymon!" The youngest of the group called out weakly, reaching his thin arm towards him. "We need to save Matt!" hearing him Greymon nodded and opened his mouth again. And then in rapid succession he shot more of his nova blasts, hitting the target head on. With each hit he stepped backwards until he suddenly fell, leaving the space he had been a split-second before, empty. Of course it was all thanks to the hidden crevice they'd been fighting in front of. As everyone rejoiced they heard a distant cry.
Looking at one another they asked at the same time, "You don't suppose?!" Joe, who was the only one able to stand, with Tai rushed to the edge of the crevice and looked down, gasping at what they saw. The last of their group was hanging limply onto his digimon's arm, a rive of blood streaming from his left shoulder. His usual stand up hairdo was lying flat against his head and was dripping wet. Gabumon grasped tightly onto the young boys hand and used his other to hold onto a branch that stuck out from the crevices' side.
Relieved that they were both alive, but worried about their well being, Tai yelled, "Gabumon are you alright?"
"For now!" He called back. They could hear his voice straining. "But we're going to fall soon! I can't hold on much longer."
"Just hold on a second!" Turning back to the others he asked, "Biyomon can you digivolve?"
The small pink bird replied weakly, "I'm afraid not. I haven't eaten for awhile and am pretty hungry. And besides, with Sora like this, I feel like all of my power is just draining out of me."
"Tentamon can you?"
"Hmm. I can certainly try, though I haven't eaten in quite awhile either." Izzy's digivice lit up. "Tentamon digivolve to... Kabutarimon!" Soon the original lady bug looking digimon had become much bigger. "I don't know how long I can stay like this but-"
"Well quit yammering and help those two! Greymon, digivolve back into Augumon. I don't need you wasting your energy." Tai ordered, looking frantically from one face to another. Things were pretty damn serious this time. Dammit Matt, don't die on me! And you two better be okay. T.K was right. We have to stay together no matter what. There may be a time when someone gets hurt and no one will be there to help.
Kabutarimon slowly lowed himself to just below the branch before he said, "Gabumon let go of the branch and grab onto my leg real quick."
"That's easier said than done!" The wolf-like digimon muttered. "But I suppose I have to try cause if I mess this up the two of us are as good as dead." Hesitantly he uncurled his claws, one at a time, from the branch. When he had one claw left on the branch he took a deep shuddering breath and let go, letting out a scream as he fell a few inches before he grabbed onto the other digimon's waiting leg. With the sudden extra weight he fell about a foot before he managed to climb back over the edge to drop the others off. As soon as the two were a safe distance from the edge he changed back into Tentamon and collapsed to the ground. Izzy hurried over to him and began to fuss over him.
Even though Matt was now safe all Tai could do was stand there and stare. His arm was still bleeding violently and obviously needed medical attention but no one was aware enough in the field to help. As he watched it run down his arm, Tai made a split second decision. Quickly he took off his shirt and began to rip it into strips. When he had what he thought would be enough, he walked over to Matt and knelt down beside him. Carefully he began to tie strips of shirt around the wound, making sure to not touch it directly. Once he'd finished he sat back and stared at the blond, noticing how all the color seemed to have drained from his normally pale face.
Joe came up behind him and put his hand on Tai's shoulder, startling him. "Are you settled down now? You were being a pretty big prick back in the cave."
"Yeah, sorry about that. I'm fine now. I was just mad at... Well I'm not sure what exactly I was mad at to be honest." Sighing, Tai closed his eyes, wishing that what had just happened was a dream. But it was their reality. Life would've been so much easier if they'd just been normal teenagers, living out normal lives. Though for them, finding a world inside the digital world constituted as normal. "Anyway we should go back to the cave. If that thing comes back we won't have any way of fighting it." Though he couldn't see it, Joe nodded.
"How are we going to carry back the injured ones?" Joe asked, walking over to Mimi and helping her sit up.
"I can carry Matt back. And if Mimi can walk on her own you can take either Sora or T.K back and Izzy can take the one you don't He should probably carry T.K since he's the smallest."
"It's fine by me." Izzy said, turning away from Tentamon.
"I think I can manage." Mimi murmured, moving to sit on her knees and wavering a little bit. "Though I'm still shaken up."
"Well now that that's settled..." Joe turned to the digimon. "Can you guys manage on your own?"
"I can walk."
"I'll be fine."
"I can certainly try!"
"I can walk but I think Gabumon is too tired to move." Augumon offered, turning to look at the poor thing who sat protectively by Matt's side. "If he can't I'll help him along."
"You're a big help, Augumon. We'll see you all at the cave." Tai bent down next to the blond again and slipped one arm under his neck and then gently took him under the legs before lifting him as carefully as he could. As soon as he had gotten the best grip he could he started back where they'd come from, making sure to jostle the limp body as little as possible. Soon he heard three other sets of footsteps behind him, one a little slower and clumsy than the others.
Once back inside the safety of their temporary shelter Tai set Matt down on the hard ground, placing him as far from the heat of the fire as possible and as far back as they could go without losing sight of the others. Once he'd made sure that the other boy was as comfortable as he could make him without waking him, Tai leaned against a close rock and stared at him, wondering if he was going to be alright. In the end everything was all his fault. Again.
Before he knew it, and even though it wasn't dark out, Tai's eyes drifted shut and he was out like a light.
Matt's eyes fluttered opened to find themselves enveloped by nights dark cloak. Every muscle in his body felt stiff and it hurt when he moved his neck to look around. Someone slept near him, using a boulder as a head rest. Some where near him he heard the soft snoring of others, who he could only assume were his friends. When he became a little bit more aware he noticed a dull ache in his left arm and he turned to look, gasping loudly when he saw the bandages. When he realized how loud he had been he clamped his right hand over his mouth, hoping he hadn't woken the others. For one straight minute he kept his hand over his mouth, listening for any stirring of people or digimon.
Satisfied that he hadn't woken anyone, Matt struggled to sit up. His body cried out to him for him to stop but he ignored the sharp pains in his stomach and neck. His stomach growled loudly and he tried to hush it but failed miserably. This time he did hear some shifting but it was right next to him. Who ever had fallen asleep next to him had woken up.
"Matt? Matt are awake?" The voice was hushed but worried. "How are you feeling? Do you need me to rebandage your arm? You're probably hungry. I should see if there's any food for you."
"Tai is that you?" Matt croaked, clearing his dry throat.
"Yeah it's me." The figure moved closer until Matt could make out the faint outline of the unruly, but familiar, brown hair. "How's your shoulder?"
"Fine. Just... Sore." He heard an obvious sigh of relief. "So what did you guys use for a bandage? I don't figure these guys had any just lying around." He joked.
"No. I just used my t-shirt."
"Shut-up Matt! Don't wake the others. It was the only thing around to use at the time and I figured Joe's sweater thing would be a bit itchy, don't you think?" Tai murmured in a hushed tone, moving a bit closer. "Everyone was worried about you you know. You haven't woken up in almost fourteen hours."
"Fourteen hours?!" Matt whispered. "What the hell did you guys do for fourteen hours?"
"Besides fret over your well being?"
Tai sighed and leaned back on his hands. "Nothing really. Took a walk, gathered some food, and started up the mountain again."
Irritated Matt muttered, "I told you not to climb that damn mountain when there's no good reason to."
"Did you expect us to sit around here all day and watch Izzy fiddle with his computer and those stupid hieroglyphs? I don't think so. It was more for entertainment purposes than surveying purposes."
"Still!" He saw Tai shrug. There was no point in the argument so Matt sighed, resigned to the fact that he was stuck with a moron leader. After a few minutes of silence Matt asked, "Hey. Will you take me to that crevice again?"
"Are you well enough to walk? And what for? We don't know if that thing will come back again." Tai responded, looking into the piercing blue eyes, even though he couldn't see them.
"I just want to know why the hell I couldn't defend myself. That's all." Matt said innocently. "And I'm well enough that I won't like, collapse and fall in."
"Just lend me your shoulders for now and that's the best promise I can give."
"That's REALLY reassuring, Matt." All he got in response was a quick, cocky, laugh. "Well whatever. If you fall it's not gonna be my fault!" With that last statement Tai crawled over to Matt and placed one of the smooth arms around his neck before he hoisted him up to his feet. "You know for someone so skinny you're certainly hard to carry."
"Shut up." He muttered as he started to shuffle slowly forward. His legs were obviously weak and he stumbled over them but managed to stay upright.
"I am half tempted to just carry you there." He heard Tai say through tight lips. He didn't say anything but continued on. They reached the crevice nearly half an hour later. Once there, Tai felt the thin arm wrap a little tighter around his neck and felt the blond shaking a little bit. "Oi, what's wrong?"
"I was so powerless against that... That thing and I expect myself to be able to protect T.K? Who am I kidding? I couldn't protect a fly." He was crying again and Tai wasn't sure what he was supposed to do in this situation. The only person he'd ever comforted was his little sister and that was only when she hurt herself. "Tai, what am I supposed to do?"
"What you can. Stay with the group. Don't wander off by yourself."
"You sound like a teacher scolding a student who wandered away from the group on a field trip." Tai smiled. He was back to himself. For the most part at least. He eyes were still teary but he was smiling. Tai found himself staring at him. Before today he'd never really taken notice of him. For being a "self proclaimed" cool guy he really was pretty cool. His skin was perfectly smooth and his eyes were bright blue. And his hair? Well his hair was a good style. Although he was Japanese he was what one would call a "stereotypical German" with the blond hair and blue eyes. Suddenly Matt turned to look at him with his piercing blue eyes and he felt his heart pound a little faster. "Tai you're creeping me out, staring like that."
"Sorry." He muttered without looking away. Instead he felt himself moving a little closer until he could feel Matt's breath against his lips. What am I doing? He thought. I can't stop myself. Hesitantly he closed the gap between his lips and the other boys. He felt him gasp but he didn't seem to protest or move away.
Matt's lips were soft against his own and tasted of blood and tears. Tai didn't even understand what he was he was doing. All he knew at the moment was that he didn't want to move away. After a second he shifted both their bodies, without breaking them apart, so that he was facing Matt, and was now holding him up by his waist. Both of Tai's arms slid around his back and held there.
"What are you doing?" The blond asked after their lips had parted and Tai had begun kissing his jaw and neck. "You're freaking me out man."
"I don't know but I don't want to stop. If you don't like it punch me. Get back at me for saying such stupid things this morning." Tai replied, resting his head on Matt's shoulder while pressing his lips to the crook of his neck.
"Are you stupid or did you just forget? My punching arm is injured."
"Then kick me."
"You sound like you want me to hurt you."
"If it'll let me keep doing this you can do what ever you want for all I care."
Sighing, Matt shrugged. "Do what you want." Now he shifted a little so that he could wrap his arms around the brunette's neck. His eyes stared out past the crevice, looking into the far distant at what was once unknown to them. Although he knew what they were doing was morally wrong he was too tired to really care. And Tai's mouth had felt nice, not that he'd ever say it out loud. "What do you think it is," Matt murmured, "that keeps bringing us back to this desolate place?"
"The adventure. The danger. The time we get to spend together in a world that no one knows exists except us."
"Well sure. Those are the obvious reasons but don't you think there's some other, deeper, reason?"
"Besides the fact that we're the Digidestined?"
"Again that's the obvious reason!"
"Do you want there to be a deeper meaning behind us coming here over and over again?"
"No. Not really. I just thought that maybe the people, or the things, that keep bringing us here are screwing with us without reason. I mean we were quote "normal" teenagers four years ago and now we're expected to save a universe parallel to our own." Matt took a slow, hissing breath as Tai bit into the cartilage of his ear. "Going a bit far for a fifteen year old, aren't you?"
"Probably. And of course they're just screwing with us. That's the way our world and theirs are. For God's sake we're basically living inside a video game, Matt." Tai brought his lips to Matt's again and touched them lightly before backing away and repeating it again.
"I hope you know," the blond muttered after one kiss, "that doing this," another kiss, "is wrong for," and another, "two boys." Though he said this he didn't resist any. "Especially two who can't get along."
"Again if you don't like it kick me or something. I don't care that it's wrong though I did actually stop to think about what I was doing for once in my life..." Tai muttered back before he dove in for another kiss. This time he didn't back up right away. He let his lips linger there for a second before he asked, "Can we try something?"
Curling his lips into a smirk Matt sighed, "Do what you want."
Tai opened his mouth a little further and slid his tongue out, touching Matt's bottom lip with it until Matt opened his mouth allowing it inside. His mouth, to Tai, was hot. He could feel his own touching Matt's and it sent chills through him. Before now he'd never kissed anyone anywhere besides the cheek and that obviously didn't count. His eyes were closed. He was afraid to open them to see the others reactions although his fears were for naught.
Matt had closed his eyes as well and had unconsciously wrapped his arms just a little tighter around Tai's neck. His body melted into his as naturally as butter melted in heat. Things felt so right but at the same time so wrong. Whatever had happened today had certainly changed him a little bit. If he had been the same person he had been four years ago, today, he probably would've pushed the brunette into the open crevices' mouth.
What felt like forever later they broke apart, breathing a little faster and with a flustered look on their faces'. Silence filled the air as brown eyes looked into blue ones and visa versa. It was a pleasant silence though it was broken when Tai lazily observed, "We should go back. We need to get some sleep before we head out today." He sounded disappointed but it was pretty obvious he was thinking of their well-being.
"Of course." Matt agreed, letting his injured arm fall limp beside him. Tai wasn't the only one kind of disappointed. He let Tai shift again so he was in a better position before he shuffled forward, back towards the cave.