Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
Shades of Red
Chapter One: Start of a week
It was Monday morning in Shinjuku, a most hated time. After two days of leisure, one had to drag him/herself out of bed, get dressed and get ready for another week of melancholy and tedium. However, the bustle had yet to start.
The sun spread its yellow glow across the skyline, turning it all into shades of orange. It was the calm before the storm in Shinjuku, but none were in a rush. The only thing that could be seen was the sound of birds chirping and the occasional early morning exerciser. It was pure quiet bliss.
In one room, the occupant couldn't agree less. Brown unkempt hair stuck out from under the futon, the blanket rising and falling with each breath the person made. One could say that the world has heeded one person's wish, and he was making the best out of it.
Unfortunately, at that exact moment, the alarm clock decided to interrupt the peace with a loud ring. The boy tried the time old strategy of stuffing his ears with the pillow. However, the alarm clock continued to ring. It rang and rang as if it was a whining baby, with no other way to be heard, simply demands to be heard and to be acknowledged. The boy stubbornly and willingly continued to resist the screech of the alarm clock, but the ring… the awful ring. That screech, that noise, it began to creep and seep into his mind. Like an anaconda, it wrapped itself around the mind and began to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze some more. Now it was only a question of whose will was greater: man or machine?
However, the patience of man was finite while machine had no need for something as infantile as patience. Finally exasperated with the infernal contraption and cursing with all his heart the inventor who thought they were a good idea, Takato Matsuki Katou admitted defeat and reached for the snooze button. He pressed it but nothing happens, and the ring continued its march inside Takato's head. He pressed the button for a second time. There was no audible response. So with rising frustration, he pressed it for a third time, then a fourth, and so on and so forth. It wasn't long before Takato became desperate and was just smacking the household torture device around with his palm.
Now if Takato was fully awake, he would have realized that he wasn't even pressing the snooze button. Heck, he even forgets to set the stupid thing! At that point, Takato couldn't care less. He didn't care about whether his "parents" would chew him out, spit him out, and then force into the workforce just to rack up enough money to buy another annoying alarm clock. All he just wanted was the clock to stop ringing just so he could have a few more minutes of peaceful closed eyed heaven.
After coming to the conclusion that the snooze button was broken, and that the clock must be destroyed itself, Takato rolled to the other side. Wiping the crust from his eyelids, he opened them just enough to see what he could use to bludgeon and bash the devil reincarnated into a piece of machinery into oblivion. His sleep addled brain rejected several candidates, before looking at one last one. His hand reached forward, and gripped the object. He tested the material and weighed it, swinging it around a little. A small smirk adorned his lips.
Turning over on the side and glaring at the annoyance that continued to taunt him, he raised his hand in the air, which was now brandishing a carpenter hammer. Then Takato's muscles tensed as he left the hammer drop, starting his assault on the technical brain fart. Over and over, the hammer smashed against the clock, again and again and again. The inside rattled, the glass cracked, but other than the outside wear and tear, the clock kept on ringing, the ring just could not be denied! So Takato's head came out from under the pillow as he became more and more hell-bent on thing: stopping that ring.
The hammer came on the clock like a hangover on a drunk. It came down like rain, with renewed ferocity. More and more power was put into each swing and each blow. Takato subconsciously gritted his teeth in his effort. Finally, his hand made such a drawback that the part used to remove nails lodged itself into the side of Takato's head.
At that moment, like cold water splashing down, Takato became fully aware and his eyes widened to the point of looking ridiculous. He was lying on his side, the hammer still lodged in his side. His pupil twitched as he laid there, waiting for the reaction of his pain receptors.
Meanwhile, a girl had slipped out of her room, and began to walk through the hallway. The girl's name was Jeri Katou and if one were to take a first look at her, she would have fit the bill for a Japanese school girl. Though not blessed with the modern standards of beauty like a well endowed chest or cellulite free hips, she made up for those missing features with a cute smile and a gentle demeanor. This ironically made her one of the most desirable girls in her school.
Right now she was dressed in her uniform as it was nearly time to go. He uniform consisted of a normal white button shirt covered with a jacket. She wore large loose white socks that scrunched down to the middle of her shin and a plaid miniskirt. Her smile vanished for a while as she pulled on her skirt. She then asked herself the question that possibly every Japanese school asks herself.
"Why are these skirts so low?"
Jeri asked herself, shaking her head as she approached Takato's room.
Her bright smile returned as she stared at Takato's door.
"Takato probably has something to say about that."
Jeri began to knock on Takato's door.
"Takato, it's time to get up." Jeri stepped back waiting for Takato to come out.
When Takato didn't open the door, Jeri sighed.
"Takato, wake up!"
Still getting no response, Jeri's patience was shot as she opened the door.
"Takato, you have enough tardies…"
Jeri opened the door fully, and glanced down. Takato was on the floor, covering his face. When he revealed his face, it had the outline of the door edge on it. Looking at Takato's situation, his legs were tangled in the blanket, his right hand holding a carpenter's hammer and his left hand was on his head, bits of blood on his fingers. Jeri blinked.
Takato looked up and blinked.
Takato closed his eyes and grimaced as Mrs. Katou applied alcohol to his head. Jeri shook her head.
"Takato…" She said in that concerned tone of hers. Takato acknowledged her by meeting eye contact with her.
"What were you doing with a carpenter hammer in your room?"
Takato closed his eyes for a bit, not minding the alcohol. Then he opened eyes and snapped his fingers.
"Posting my new drawing."
Jeri looked around his room. "Which one?"
His room was very bare of furniture, only having a closet, a small table and a futon. However, the thing that was of interest was of the many drawings that were stuck on the walls. The drawings had a wide range of subject matter; abstract, landscape, anime characters, you name it.
The newest piece of Takato's work was nailed on the door. One of the most things that Jeri liked about Takato's drawings was that they seemed so much like photographs, it was uncanny. This drawing was no less in quality. It had two silhouettes sitting on a hill. A shooting star flowed across the sky as stars dotted the background.
The sixteen year old girl smiled for a moment as she observed the drawing. Takato, while waiting for Mrs. Katou to treat his *small* injury, also smiled.
The moment was ruined by Jeri's mother who took a look at it. True, it was beautiful and she definitely loved her adopted son's work. Still, even for Takato, it looked like a lot of effort and time was poured into it.
"Takato, were you drawing in class again, again?"
The guy in question snapped out of his reverie and began to think back.
"Takato Matsuki Katou!"
Takato looked up from his notebook and at his language arts teacher.
"Sooner or later, I know you will need to learn the definition of foreshadowing!"
The teacher nodded and turned back to the blackboard, not noticing Takato was still drawing.
Mrs. Katou raised an eyebrow.
"What, I already know what is the definition of foreshadowing. Ms. Asagi drilled those terms into us just so hard!"
Mrs. Katou shook her head. "Takato."
Jeri interjected. "Mom, I'll handle this."
Mrs Katou looked at her daughter.
"Are you sure?"
Jeri took one sideways look at Takato as he was fixing his futon. Then she nodded.
Mrs. Katou smiled and began to walk out of the room. However, she turned and said. "Takato, don't be late for school! You know you already have too many tardies already!"
Takato turned and flashed his big goofy grin. "Don't worry about it!"
He finished folding his futon and began to walk out of her room. Mr. Katou stuck his head out of his bedroom.
"You better, or else you can kiss those Shonen Jump magazines of yours when I dump every single issue you own into the recyclables."
The bathroom door shut loudly.
Mrs. Katou took one last nod at Jeri then walked away. Jeri also waited to the door to wait for Takato.
Takato and Jeri were walking through the morning crowd of Shinjuku. The light bounced off the building and onto the goggles that Takato had hanging around his neck. Jeri stared at those goggles for a while.
The goggle lenses were rectangular; the band was black and looked more like futuristic glasses.
Staring into them reminded Jeri of the first time that she met Takato.
Flashback – 2 years ago
It was a full moon on a Thursday night. Jeri and her family were driving home from the grocery store. Her mother was praising her about her grades which had improved from the previous semester. Mr. Katou simply sat back concentrating on his driving, but anyone could see that he had a proud smile on his face.
Yeah, life at that point was pretty sweet.
Suddenly a bang rang out as a bullet hole appeared at the corner of the windshield. Everyone cried out as Mr. Katou slammed on the brakes. The few bystanders turned to stare as the car suddenly stopped leaving tire marks in the asphalt. The cars behind stopped to avoid crashing. They then honked their horns in annoyance, for it was a one car lane.
The whole Katou family calmed down enough to look at their assailant. The nearby streetlight covered his front in shadow, but as he came near the car, the headlights illuminated him.
The man wore a black unzipped jacket, revealing a pure blue muscle shirt with flame designs adorning the bottom. His jeans had one pant leg frayed until it showed part of his ankle. His face was covered by a large hood that obscured everything about his face except for his mouth and the tip of his mouth. His boots had one large strap across the ankle. In his hand, the smoking hole of a pistol could be seen.
However, the gun wasn't the only thing that chilled their blood. On the clothes of the strange man, were spots of red. It dotted part of his shirt, and some of it marked his face.
A deep cynical part of Jeri's mind informed her that the red wasn't proof that the man just had a bad run in with a ketchup bottle.
Also, the Katou family could see another person with his arm around the gun toting stranger's shoulder. His head was down, his big light brown hair covering his face. He wore a sky blue sweater jacket, with tan sweatpants. His sneakers dragged beneath him as he was dragged towards the car.
As the two approached the car, a horn honked and shattered the silence was beginning to descend over the scene. The man looked over the car. Another man stuck his head out of his car door.
"Hey! Hurry up and steal the car already!"
He then went back into honking his horn, sending the other drivers to honk in response, everyone else sharing the first man's sentiments.
Another shot rang out as the offender's side view window blew off. A silence descended on the cars, as the offender sat silently, trying not to pee himself. The figure stared into the windshield as the driver tried his best not to hyperventilate. The stranger began to lift his finger to his mouth. The man then made a "shh" sound. The offender then felt something warm go down his pants.
Turning back to the Katou family, the man tapped the window with his pistol. Trying to steady his nerves, Mr. Katou rolled the window down, all while tightening his fist. Mrs. Katou was ready to pounce and give the guy a good nice spray of mace.
And Jeri was ready to scream everyone's head off.
Mr. Katou stuck his head to face the stranger.
In a straight voice, he said, "What do you want?"
The stranger tilted his head towards the unconscious person.
"Can you drive my friend to the hospital? He really needs help."
Mr. Katou raised an eyebrow.
"For him? What, did you suddenly grow a heart?"
Mrs. Katou and Jeri slapped their mouths in surprise.
The figure, meanwhile, appeared to look down. He pointed to the spots.
"These? No, they are not his. Still, don't have time to chat. See you later."
With that, the stranger opened the door and shoved the other person into the backseat with Jeri. Then he turned around and began to run. Mr. Katou fumbled with his seat belt, stumbled out the car door, and began to chase what he thought to be a possible fugitive. Meanwhile, Jeri and Mrs. Katou had gathered around the boy that had been deposited into their care.
They started to examine his face. Part of his face had a large bruise, while part of his mouth leaked a bit of blood. Also, a rather strange pair of goggles was perched upon his head. Other than that, he was about average looking.
Slowly, the boy slowly opened his eyes to a half lidded look. Jeri and Mrs. Katou crowded his view, and stared into his eyes which were a chocolate kind of brown. Jeri put her hand on Takato's head.
"It's okay; you're with good people now. You're safe."
Takato stared at Jeri for a while then nodded and went back into unconsciousness.
Mr. Katou came back, a bit upset that he couldn't keep up with the stranger. But after one look at the strange boy, all doubt was expelled as he prepared to drive immediately to the hospital.
The Next Day
Jeri stared out the window as her teacher prattled on about the finer points of algebra. She was not concerned about math, what she was concerned with was the strange boy who had been brought into their care. Just who was he?
Just then, the end-of-school bell rang. Like a broken dam, a flood of students rushed out the door. Jeri stayed behind for a little while, not wanting to get flattened by the mad rush. When the door was open again, she gathered her things, and quietly stepped over the few students who had the unfortunate luck of tripping and got trampled on. Once in the hallway, she turned to assist the fallen, but the fallen had already picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and went off on their merry way.
Once outside, Jeri closed her eyes and breathed in the fresh air.
Jeri's eyes bulged as she quietly gagged on the air she breathed. When she looked up with a few tears in her eyes, there stood in front of her the foreign exchange student, Drake Walker.
Drake Walker could be summed up in five words: cocky, athletic, somewhat handsome, and blonde.
Jeri weakly bowed her head.
Drake stepped a little closer and wiped a tiny tear out of Jeri's eye.
"What's this? Are you so happy to see me that you're crying tears of joy?"
Inwardly, Jeri rolled her eyes. Drake wasn't actually full American. He was half American, half Japanese. For some crazy reason, Drake found Japanese girls to be extremely attractive. Jeri could only assume it was to follow through tradition. Lately, Jeri caught Drake's eye.
Drake smiled as he leaned on the wall.
"So got anything planned for today? I thought…"
A honk could be heard at the school entrance. Jeri looked past over Drake's shoulder. At the entrance of the school, Jeri's mother stood gesturing to her. Her attention snapped back to Drake, who waited for her answer.
Jeri smiled apologetically.
"Sorry Drake, but apparently I do have plans."
Drake's face fell.
"Oh, uh… I guess that's okay…"
Jeri's foot shifted.
"Yes, well… See you tomorrow!"
With that, and a smile, she walked down to the car. Getting in, she came under the scrutiny of her mother's gaze. She sat there, her eyebrow raised. Jeri quickly responded.
Her mother's eyebrow went down.
The car began driving along when Jeri, staring out the window, noticed that they were taking a whole new route.
"Mom, where are we going?"
"Jeri we are going to see that boy we sent to the hospital the other day."
Jeri stared ahead to the road.
Once at the hospital, and getting registered at the front office, Jeri and Mrs. Katou were being escorted to the boy's room.
"So tell us, is he alright?" Jeri asked the doctor.
The doctor looked at her, and then smiled with mischief in mind.
"Why? Is he a really good friend of yours?"
"No, he is just a guy we picked off the street."
The doctor frowned, a bit annoyed that Jeri didn't get what he was implying.
Mrs. Katou however caught the hidden meaning and lightly tapped the doctor's shoulder.
"That wasn't exactly very professional, doctor."
The doctor shrugged, as Jeri then picked up the meaning, and was trying to get anyone to not ask about the flash tan.
He then cleared his throat as he assumed a much more professional tone and demeanor.
"Putting that aside, the boy is doing quite well. His vital signs are normal, breathing, heart rate, so how about I let you see him?"
The group finally stopped in front of the stranger's room. Opening the door, the doctor began to comment.
Takato looked up from his food tray on his lap to the three new and surprised people in his room. His eyes also spotted a clipboard on the floor, so he instantly determined the clipboard as the loud sound that disrupted his eating. Then he began to feel uncomfortable under the gaze of the group who were watching him in brain began to take action as it told his body what to do.
Takato raised his hand and began to wave to the people ackwardly.
Jeri snapped out of her reverie and looked at Takato, looking at her with a questioning look. Suddenly, the start of school bell rang.
Both pairs of eyes widened, then began to sprint as fast as they could to avoid a tardy.
End of Chapter One
Just in case, this is an AU, and that there probably be some OOC. So please tread carefully.
Other than that, enjoy the fiction and please comment/review and tell me what I did right so I can continue giving you quality work!