Here it is. My first Taito. I hope you like it.
This is dedicated to Mr. Goosey Moose , who is awesome. He helped me with this, and is an amazing writer. Check out his stories.
I do not own Digimon. I do not own its characters either.
Matt heard a faint knocking on the door. He sighed. It wasn't going to be a calm night. For starters, it was raining. It was a dreary rain, dull and pounding. There was no thundering or lightning that night, just that dull heavy rain.
His dad was at work, which wasn't surprising. He was busier than ever. But luckily, Matt could cook for himself, and all modesty aside, he was pretty good at it. His mom was across town, but he was used to that since the divorce. And T.K.? T.K. was probably spending time with Davis. Those two had grown very close. Matt had suspected T.K. might be gay for a few weeks now, but had not confronted him about it.
And it wasn't like Matt had any room to talk. That's right. Matt Ishida the hot, cool, lone rocker with a million fan girls. . . was gay, and in love with his best friend. Not that he'd ever tell him. No. . . Matt was too much a coward to do so. He did not want to risk losing Tai's friendship. But he was in love with his best friend. He loved Tai's bullheadedness, his stubborn sense of pride, his humor, and most of all his eyes. Tai had these chocolate brown eyes that were always filled with joy and warmth.
At first Matt had been afraid of these feelings. But he soon came to accept it. He even came out to his dad. Mr. Ishida had come in late from work and tired. Matt had cooked, of course, and so they began to eat. Matt had been talking, and it sort of slipped out. Or maybe Matt wanted it to slip out. Matt's dad merely grunted and he finished eating. Afterward, he went to bed. It wasn't until that following morning that his dad had come to talk it over with him. But he seemed fine with it.
So Matt had kept it secret, though he wished Tai could reciprocate. Especially as he and Tai were now closer than ever as friends. As Matt reached the door, he sighed. He would give anything to be with Tai. He opened the door.
There, on the doorstep, as well as in the middle of the freezing rain, was the subject of Matt's thoughts. But this wasn't the Tai Matt was used to. When Tai normally came over, it was with a measure of comfortability. Tai usually barged right into the apartment and headed straight for the fridge. Tai could usually find some leftovers that Matt had cooked. Tai was energetic and enthusiastic, confident and brave, intelligent and bright, stubborn and naïve. This was Tai Kamiya, and if you didn't like it, then what the fuck was wrong with you?
And yet, this was not the Tai that stood before him. There was only one word Matt could use to describe Tai right then: broken. Tai stood, shivering in the cold rain. His confident swagger was gone, replaced by a hunch as if Tai were hurt or afraid. And it wasn't hard to see why. Tai had a huge black right eye. It was dark purple and starting to swell. Tai also had a cut on his cheek, which had been bleeding. Then Matt realized Tai was shaking, not from cold, but in rhythm to silent sobs that wracked his body. That's when Matt's eyes met Tai's. Suddenly Matt's heart ached and cracked.
They say that only ten percent of communication is speech. The other ninety percent can be expressed through body language, hand gestures, and eye contact. Tai spoke a lot through his eyes. Before, they were always full of mirth, comfort, determination, and warmth. But all Matt saw now was fear, anxiety, anger and hurt. Matt saw how much pain Tai was in.
"Matt. . ." Tai called out in a broken hurt voice that increased the pain in Matt's heart. Tai then collapsed into his best friend, sobbing. Tears that Tai had been previously holding in and now flowed free and out of control. Matt struggled with comforting Tai, keeping him up, and keeping himself up all at once. Matt noticed how wet Tai was from the rain. Matt decided the practical thing to do would be to get Tai inside out of the rain.
"Shh. . . I've got you Tai. . .Shh. . ." Matt was able to direct Tai inside as well as maneuver the door closed, all the while holding Tai, who was still sobbing. It hurt Matt to see his best friend, and secret love, in so much pain. He had never seen Tai so shaken. Still holding him, Matt spoke gently.
"Just let it out. I have you Tai. I've got you. Shh. . ." Matt started to move them to the bathroom. "Shh. . . come with me Tai. . . I've got you. . ." He got Tai into the bathroom, grabbed a towel and wrapped it around the sobbing brunette. Using that motion, he pulled the soccer player to him in a hug. Tai wrapped his arms around Matt and buried his head in his friend's shoulder. They then collapsed onto their knees. Tai then proceeded to cry his heart out. Matt just held him, stroking the back of Tai's head and whispering words of comfort to the fallen leader.
After several minutes, which felt like hours, Tai's sobs began to subside. They became less frequent until Tai was just sniffling. Matt pulled back and gazed at Tai, who had nearly the same look. Tai looked so. . . vulnerable and broken. Like a puppy that had been kicked. Matt once again saw Tai's black eye. He needed to get some ice on that. Matt stood to go get some. Tai grabbed his arm desperately.
"No. . . please. . . don't leave. . ." Tai's voice sounded weak and juvenile. Matt knelt down and put on a fake smile for his friend.
"I'm just going to get some ice. I'll be right back. I promise. . ." Tai eventually nodded. Matt left and went into the kitchen. He filled up a bag of ice and wrapped a cloth around it. He turned to go back to the bathroom when the phone rang. Slightly annoyed, Matt answered it.
"Hello? Ishida residence."
"Yeah. . . is Tai with you?" Shocked that his brother knew, Matt nodded. Then he remembered T.K. couldn't see him.
"Yeah. But how did you. . .?" Matt figured it out. "Oh. . . Kari. . ." T.K. and Kari were close friends. They had been so since they met in the Digital World. Until T.K. had grown close to Davis, Matt had thought Kari and T.K. were a pair. But now Matt knew that wasn't the case. Even still. . . T.K. and Kari were the closest of friends.
"Yeah. . . she came over a few minutes ago."
"Is she alright?"
"I . . physically she's fine, although she's pretty shaken up."
"Do you . . . do you know what happened?"
"No. . . do you?"
"Well, I just wanted to call. Matt I . . ."
"T.K. . . it'll be okay. Go comfort Kari now. Try to find out what happened."
"Okay. Bye Matt. . ."
"Bye T.K. . ." Matt picked up the ice and returned to Tai, who still sat trembling in the towel. Matt put the ice on Tai's eye.
"Here," Matt commanded in a gentle manner. "Hold this to your eye. As Tai did what he was told, Matt saw the dried blood on Tai's cheek. Matt wet a cloth and delicately cleaned the cut. Matt then applied neosporin and finished with a bandage. All of this was done with a level of care.
"Now. . ." Matt started, daring himself to look into Tai's good eye. "What happened?" Tai looked away and shook his head.
"I can't. . ."
"Tai, tell me. . ."
"No. . . Don't ask me to. . . I can't."
"Why can't you Tai. . .?" Tai looked up at met Matt's gaze.
"I. . . I don't want you to hate me too!" Tai barely got out before crying again.
"Oh Tai, I could never hate you. I love you." Matt's eyes widened when he realized what he said. "AS a best friend!" Matt quickly amended. He didn't want to alienate Tai when Tai needed him now. Tai was looking down sadly again. Matt reached over and caressed Tai's cheek, bringing Tai's gaze right back up.
"Tai. . . you can tell me. I'm going to stay right here. I won't leave. I promise. . ." Tai almost smiled, then he teared up again. Matt then pulled him into a tight bear hug. He didn't miss Tai wincing and then his yelp of pain. Matt pulled back and his eyes narrowed.
"Tai . . . take off your shirt." Tai's eyes widened, and he shook his head. "Tai, do it!" Tai sighed, tears still streaming down. He lifted his shirt up over his head and off. Matt nearly cried out himself. All across Tai's normally tanned and smooth body were huge bruises. They were purple and blotched and all over Tai's torso. Matt gently ran a hand down Tai's side. Tai closed his eyes and shivered. Matt looked up and drew his hand away.
"Tai. . .who did this to you?" Tai looked away crying.
"My. . . my dad. . ." Matt gasped. Tai was beaten by his father? Tai loved his dad. No wonder Tai was so broken.
"Oh God Tai, why?" Tai looked up at him and Matt saw fear and shame.
"Because I told him. . . I told him I was g-. . .That I'm ga-. Matt. . . I'm gay." Tai broke into sobs again. Matt was left stunned. Tai was gay? Tai Kamiya was gay? This fact made Matt happy and relieved for a split second before he remembered the situation. And as if let off the hook, Tai began to talk. "I told him and he. . . he hit me. And then he kept. . . hitting me. . . he hates me! He hates me Matt! I was so scared!" Tai choked out between sobs. "I finally ran off. . . and came here. Please don't hate me too Matt. Please. . . I couldn't stand it if you hated me. . ."
"Tai I could never hate you. In fact I love you!" Matt exclaimed. Inwardly he questioned why he was saying this now. But in his mind, this was the right time.
"Wh-what?" Tai looked at him in question. Or was there a tint of. . . hope?
"I. . . I love you Tai. You are my best friend, but I care about you much more than that. That's why I can't stand to see you this way. That's why it hurts me so much to see you like this." Matt was looking directly in Tai's eye so Tai could tell he was telling the truth. "I don't know if you feel the same way. But I want you to know that no matter what, I'll be here for you." Suddenly Tai's lips were on his own and he felt himself being embraced. Matt embraced and kissed back with just as much force. When they pulled apart, both were crying.
"I love you Matt . . ." Tai whispered. "God, I've loved you for such a long time. And then all of this. . ."
"It'll be okay Tai. We've got each other now."
"How will it be okay?" Tai asked, still whispering. Both boys were still hugging, though Matt was trying to be as delicate as possible with Tai's now fragile body. But Matt felt happiness, warmth, and. . . anger. He felt anger at Tai's dad. How could anybody do this to his own son? "Where will I stay? I've been kicked out! My parents hate me. . . Who will love me. . .?"
"I will. I will love you Tai. And . . . you can stay here! With dad and I! You can live here! And eat here! And sleep here! Dad won't mind!" Tai looked as if he were mulling it over.
"What about Kari?" He whispered.
"She's at T.K.'s house. He called earlier to tell me." Tai's eyes widened.
"Is she hurt? If that bastard hurt her, I'll-."
"No Tai! She's okay, just upset. I guess she was so upset she left your apartment and went to find comfort at T.K.'s. She'll be fine. I'm worried about you." Tai was still thinking. But he looked really tired and still hurt.
"Tai. . . keep thinking on it. You are at least staying here tonight. And that's final." With that, Matt putt his arms around Tai, one around his back and one under his knees and hoisted the brunette up, bridal style. It took a few moments, due to the fact that Tai was very large and Matt not working out on a regular basis like Tai did. Tai huddled into Matt like a lost child. More tears sprang to Matt's eyes at the way Tai was behaving. More hatred for the man Tai called father sprang up in Matt's mind. Matt carried Tai to his room and sat Tai down.
"Get those clothes off." Matt ordered. "You need dry ones." As Tai was accustomed to staying over, he had an extra set of clothes stashed at Matt's. Matt retrieved those and gave them to Tai. When Matt came back into the room, Tai quickly hid his lower half. It wasn't that he was indecent and embarrassed. He was trying, and failing, to hide the bruises down his legs. Matt put on another fake smile, set the clothes down, and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. Matt then leaned back against the door. Another tear ran down the bearer of friendship's cheek. Matt could hardly bear what happened to Tai. He walked over and picked up the phone. He dialed the number.
"H-hi. Mr. Page?" Mr. Page was his dad's assistant. The man was brilliant, and was good at catching his dad's mistakes and telling him what he needed to do.
"This is Matt. . ." The man, of course, knew him by name.
"Hi Matt, I'll switch you to your dad right now!" There was a few seconds pause.
"Dad! Um. . . you need to get home . . . now!" His dad recognized Matt's tone that he used when something was wrong.
"Matt? What's wrong?"
"It's Tai. . . he's been . . . hurt."
"I um. . . really can't talk about it here Dad. Please. . . just come home."
"I'll be there in ten minutes." There was a click, signaling the end of the conversation. Matt slowly walked back to his room. He closed his eyes, wiped away his tears and knocked on the door.
"Tai . . .?" He called.
"Come in. . ." He heard call back. Matt opened the door. Tai was sitting on the bed, still trembling, but barely so now. He was dressed now.
"Tai. . . You need some rest." Matt walked over and tried to ease Tai back into the bed.
"Lie with me." Tai pleaded, with his begging eyes. Matt found he couldn't say no if he wanted to. He pulled Tai back by his shoulders and went through the motions of placing him beneath the covers. Matt crawled in behind him, wrapping his arms around the brunette. Tai snuggled back into Matt. Matt wrapped his arms around his newfound love. Tai eventually was asleep, breathing lightly. So Matt held him. This didn't feel right. No. . . Holding Tai like this. . . it felt so . . wrong for some reason. but he knew it's what Tai needed. He heard the door open and shut. His dad was home. He heard footsteps down the hall, and he looked up at the opening door. His dad poked his head in.
"Matt?" Matt looked up.
"Dad. . . I'll be right there." Mr. Ishida nodded, and left. Matt pulled back away from Tai, resulting in the latter waking up.
"Matt? Are you leaving?" Matt leaned back down.
"I'm going to go talk to Dad. I'll be just in that room if you need me," Matt assured him. The brunette nodded. "I. . . I love you Tai." Matt kissed Tai's forehead, and then left the room.
"Matt? What is happening?" Mr. Ishida asked. Matt sighed.
"Sit down. This is going to be a lot." Mr. Ishida sat down, then scrutinized his son. Matt then proceeded to tell his father what happened, what Tai had told him, and then Tai's reaction. Mr. Ishida took it all in. Then he sat forward.
"So what now?" Mr. Ishida asked. Matt hesitated.
"Well, he's been kicked out. He needs a home. . ." Mr. Ishida's eyes widened.
"Whoa Matt! That's a big responsibility!"
"Please Dad! He needs us! You've never minded him staying before. He's never shown you disrespect! You have even said that he's like your son!" Mr. Ishida still looked doubtful. "Dad. . . please. . . I love him." Mr. Ishida raised an eyebrow at his son.
"Does he know that?" Matt blushed, and then nodded.
"We're sort of. . . unofficial now." Mr. Ishida smiled.
"You're right. I do see him as a son. And he can't go back there. Take care of him tonight. Tomorrow I'll call my lawyer about gaining custody of Tai, and if necessary, his sister." Matt smiled.
"Thanks Dad," Matt exclaimed, and hugged his father tight.
"Go on Matt." Matt walked back to his room. He saw Tai still sleeping. Tai still looked uncomfortable, even while asleep. He was frowning and kept whimpering. Matt climbed back in behind Tai and wrapped his arms around him. It still felt odd, but it was an odd night. Matt pulled Tai close.
"Tai," Matt whispered, though Tai couldn't hear him. "I will do everything I can to make you feel loved again. . . I promise."
… … … … …
"Matt . . . Matt. . . Matt. . ." Matt woke up. His arms were still around Tai. But it wasn't the brunette calling him, rather it was Matt's father.
"Matt. . . wake Tai up and take him out to do something. I have several things that need to be done. And I don't want you two here in the middle of it." It was two days later. Tai spent the last day in bed. He slept almost the entire time. Matt woke him up for meals, and for bathing, but he didn't disturb Tai. Matt mainly watched Tai, worried. His dad was busy calling his lawyer and getting things talked out and settled. Eventually, Matt climbed back into bed, put his arms awkwardly around Tai, and went to sleep. Now his dad was waking him up, telling him he and Tai needed to be out of the house?
"Just do it Yamato!" Matt swallowed. His dad rarely ever used his full name, and only when he was very serious or stressed.
"Can you tell me what you're planning?" So Mr. Ishida told him.
"Are you sure that's even necessary?" Matt asked incredulous.
"I. . . I think so. If we wait too long. . . he deserves it now." Matt nodded.
"Okay. . . I'll do it." Matt's dad walked out. Matt turned to Tai.
"Tai wake up!" Matt shook him.
"Wh-what? Where am I?" Tai looked around wildly, trying to ascertain his surroundings.
"Tai! It's me. . . Matt," The gogglehead looked at the blond. Tai's face then calmed. He didn't look happy, but he wasn't panicking.
"Hey Matt. . ." Tai stated. He still looked miserable. His eye was not swollen much, but he was going to have a shiner for a while.
"Tai. . . why don't we go do something, me and you?" Tai looked at Matt as if he were the dumbest person alive.
"Matt. . . I can't just 'go do something'! My life is a wreck! I need to find. . . I mean. . ." Matt put a hand to Tai's lips, silencing the boy.
"All of that's being taken care of. I just want you to come away with me. It doesn't need to be something important. Just somewhere we can escape all of the troubles of the world. The movies, the arcade. . . something to take our minds off of things." Tai stared at Matt for the longest time.
"I see. . . Fine." And so they did.
They went off and saw a movie, and then played some arcade games. And Matt noticed that Tai never seemed happy. He quit frowning, and did seem to lose himself into what he was doing, but he didn't smile, not once. His eyes were dull. Matt became more and more depressed for his friend as they day grew on. Then it came time to go back. In truth, they had only been out for four hours or so. It was early afternoon when they returned. Tai noticed a couple more cars there than usual. He narrowed his eyes, and yet followed Matt inside.
Matt opened the door and the two went inside. They went into the living room. There, sitting on the couch, was T.K. and his mother.
"Mom?" The door beside the couch, which led to Mr. Ishida's room, opened and Kari stepped out.
"What the hell is happening?" The gogglehead demanded.
"Tai!" Kari shouted, running into her brother's arms. Tai looked angry, then he closed his eyes and hugged Kari tight.
"Are you okay?" he whispered.
"No. Are you?" She responded.
"No," he replied.
"Hello Tai." A man said, walking out of the bedroom. He was a tall man, with short brown hair, and a carefully crafted smile.
"Who are you?" Tai asked suspiciously.
"My name is Dan. I just want to talk to you." Tai raised an eyebrow.
"Why?" Matt stepped beside Tai.
"Tai. he's a psychologist. He's here to help you." Tai's eyes widened, then he became angry.
"A shrink? I don't need any help from a shrink!"
"Tai. . ."
"No! I don't want or need his help!"
"Yes you do. . ." Matt insisted. Tai grew emotional.
"NO I DON'T!" He shouted. Matt knew that he was just pushing away.
"Tai. . . you do need this. You've been through a lot over the past few days. You need to talk this out so we can help you." Tai still looked like he was ready to fight the point.
"But Matt, I-." Matt took Tai by the shoulders and looked at him in the eyes, so Tai could see the seriousness in Matt's eyes and the concern for his well being.
"Tai. . . please. . . do this for me. . . If anything. . . do it for me. . ." Tai closed his eyes, and finally nodded. He was scared still. Matt could see that. "Tai. . . if you need me, I'll be on the other side of that door. Remember, we all want to help you." He kissed Tai's forehead. Tai opened his eyes, and two lone tears fell down his face.
"Why is this happening to me?" Tai asked, though Matt wasn't sure if the question was aimed at him or not. He chose to answer it anyway.
"I don't know. But you aren't alone. . ." Matt assured. Tai nodded. He followed Dan into the bedroom. As soon as the door shut, Matt sighed.
"Dad, you sure this was necessary? He's been through a lot already. It may be too soon. The Kamiya's might-."
"No. . . I talked to them already. They are set on not having a 'fag' or a 'fag lover' for children," Mr. Ishida said sadly. Kari started to cry into T.K.'s shoulder.
"They are so horrible!" Kari sobbed. "Dad hit him. He hit him so hard. And Tai. . . Tai just stood there, afraid. How could he. . . I tried to stop him. I couldn't. . ." Kari sobbed. "Then Tai ran, and Dad turned to me. 'You go too, you fag lover. Never come back.'" The rest was lost in tears. T.K. hugged her tight.
"After what happened. I thought this would be a good way to go. They both needed someone they could talk to. Who could help us help them. And the quicker the better. I know it's fast, but I don't want to lose Tai. I know you don't either." Matt nodded at his father's words. He thought his dad made sense. "I also called your mother to bring Kari to talk as well."
"What about custody?" T.K. asked. Matt looked at his dad, who hesitated.
"I want to. . . wait to tell everyone." He said, in a sad and tired way. Matt frowned. Then they all sat in silence as Tai talked to the psychologist. After about an hour, Dan came out.
"Where's Tai?" Matt demanded. The psychologist held up a hand.
"He's fine, and still in there. I've asked him to give us a minute and compose himself." Matt glared. That meant Tai was really upset. Matt didn't know why that angered him that Dan saw that, but it did.
"So how are they?" Mr. Ishida asked.
"Well Kari is fine. She is upset, but she'll be okay eventually. It's amazing. It's like she has this aura of hope and light surrounding her." Everyone exchanged looks. If only he knew. . .
"And Tai?" Matt asked. The man sighed.
"Tai. . . well, obviously he's upset. It's not easy being kicked out of your home. Especially after such a trauma."
"But why such a complete reversal of personality?" T.K. asked.
"Have you ever confided one of your greatest secrets to the people you love most, only to have them turn on you and beat you?" T.K. shook his head. The man nodded. "Tai has been through more than you give him credit for. He loved and admired his dad. And that trust was blown in the worst way possible."
"That son of a-." Matt began.
"Matt!" His mom interrupted. The psychologist's gaze shifted to the blond boy.
"So you're Matt?" The boy nodded. Dan smiled. "Thank goodness for you. He really cares for you, and you probably are the reason he's as good as he is. If not for you, well. . . There would be no chance." Matt's eyebrows furrowed.
"Chance?" The man nodded.
"From what I've gathered, Tai is a brave, kind, smart, macho individual. All of this is being . . . suppressed in order to protect himself. He will need all of your help in restoring his natural personality. Thank God he has a support system like you." The man's eyes shifted around the room and landed on Matt. "He will need you in these upcoming times."
"How. . . how long?" Kari asked. "Before he's back to normal." Dan frowned.
"We may never know. Could be tomorrow, could be years from now. And he'll never fully recover. He'll carry these scars for a long while." Dan assessed.
"Thank you Dan, for all of this. I don't know how you do it, but you are always a big help," Mr. Ishida said. Dan had helped both him and Matt with coping with depression and the divorce.
"Of course! And remember, if you ever need me, I'm a phone call away." Dan nodded and left. Tai came out of the room later. His eyes were red from crying, and he looked really sad now. Matt walked over and hugged him, being sure not to squeeze too tight.
"Good, now that Tai's out here, I have something to tell you all." Mr. Ishida started. "I know you Tai, and you Kari have been through a lot over the past few days. But I'm glad you know you could come here or to Nancy's." At her name, Ms. Takaishi went to stand by her former husband. "I. . . called your parents yesterday to try and talk sense to them. I . . ." Mr. Ishida swallowed hard. "I'm not going to repeat what they said, but I am going to say I've concluded you can not go back to live there. I'm sorry." Kari started to cry into T.K. once again. Tai tried to sit down, but missed the couch and landed on his butt, hard. Matt winced, and tried to help him up, but Tai shook him off. He stayed on the floor, . . . too upset to get back up.
"I um. . . spoke with my lawyer, and he called them. The paper work was sent over yesterday. I got it back today. And. . . As of two hours ago, I am your new legal guardian Tai. And Kari, Nancy is yours. . ." Mr. Ishida waited for their reactions, which he didn't expect to go over well. The first thing Matt felt was happiness! Tai didn't have to face his parents again! He could stay here, where Matt could love and protect him. But then something struck him as odd. It was the. . . swiftness of it. It was only two days ago Tai was living happily at home. And now. . .
"What?" Tai barely got out. "But. . . we didn't even fight it in court! It hasn't been but two days. . . Did they not want us? Do they not love us?"
"Tai. . ." Matt started.
"No. . . No. . .NO. . .NO!" Tai started to shake again. Matt slid right next to him on the floor, pulled Tai into his arms and held him. T.K. was holding Kari. Both Kamiya kids were devastated. The fact that their parents would just hand them off like a bad sweater, was . . . unbearable.
"Guys," Ms. Takaishi spoke. "We want you to know we love you both and we see you and love you as much as our own children. We don't want you to feel pressured into joining our . . . family. We want you to feel loved."
"Those monsters!" T.K. exclaimed. "Can't we call the police or something?" Mr. Ishida looked down.
"I . . . made a deal with the Kamiyas. If I didn't call the police, then they wouldn't take us to court over custody. And with no previous offenses, it'd be likely you two would still be living there in their charge. And as . . . good as that would seem, you would find no home there." Tai slowly stood up. He walked over to Mr. Ishida and Ms. Takaishi.
"Thank you." he whispered, his eyes never leaving the floor. He then walked into Matt's room and shut the door. Matt looked up at his parents, and then ran after Tai. In Matt's room, Tai was curled up in the bed, trembling.
"Oh Tai. . ." Matt said, and climbed in after him.
"I hate my life. . . I hate it! I hate my parents! I hate myself. . ."
"I'm so sorry Tai. . . I'm so sorry. . ."
"Hold me Matt. . . Just hold me. . ." And so Matt did. Matt noted how, once again, the position they were in was wrong. Matt wondered what it would feel like if Tai was holding him instead. That's the way it's supposed to be. After about an hour, Mr. Ishida knocked on the door.
"Come in!" Matt said. Matt's dad walked in.
"I'm sorry guys, but the Kamiya's. . . they left for the afternoon to allow Tai and Kari to get whatever they wanted to save. . ." Mr. Ishida winced. "I mean. . . keep."
"We'll be down in a minute," Matt said. Mr. Ishida left. Matt turned to Tai.
"Tai. . ."
"I heard him," Came the gruff reply. Tai sighed. "Do I have to? I just want to go to sleep."
"Tai. . . you have to. . ." Tai sat up. His eyes closed, he took several deep breaths.
"How can I do this Matt? What did I do to deserve this?" Matt wanted nothing but to ease Tai's worries. He wanted Tai to smile and laugh and to just plain be Tai again. He put his hand on Tai's shoulder.
"I don't know. But think about all the good things you have. You have your health. You have Kari. You have . . . me. . ." Tai turned to him, more tears in his eyes.
"I'm so sorry Matt. You're right. I have so much to be thankful for. And all I'm doing is crying like a baby." Matt's mouth opened and closed again.
"Tai. . . I was just saying that you have some light in these dark times." Matt didn't mean to sound poetic, but that's how it came out. Tai leaned over and kissed Matt again. It was simple, yet desperate. It was like Tai was searching for comfort there. So Matt tried to show him comfort. He kissed back with love and compassion. Tai pulled back, crying.
"Let's go," he said. The two got in the car. Mr. Ishida drove them over to the Kamiya's house. They parked. Mr. Ishida turned around in his seat to face the boys.
"Guys, take what you can. I'll be here if you need me." Tai and Matt both nodded. They climbed out and walked into the apartment building. They made it to Tai's door.
"Tai. . . you can do this," Matt said. Tai raised a shaking hand and opened the door. He walked in. This was his home. This was the place that could house his family and solve all his problems. Now it was a place of hostility and pain. Matt took Tai's hand. Tai looked at him, and Matt squeezed the hand. Tai didn't squeeze back, but didn't let go either. Ignoring the rest of the house, Tai went to his room. Half of it was cleaned of Kari's things, which made sense. Mr. Ishida had told them Kari had been here earlier to clean out her things. Tai looked around his room. Well. . . no longer his room. Belongings and mementos were strewn across the floor. Tai had never been an organized person.
"If you could. . ." Tai began, but his voice broke and he stopped. He seemed to be waging an internal war in his mind.
"Tai, I'll pack your clothes. You get what. . . things you want to keep." Tai nodded slowly. They found some suitcases and boxes. Matt carefully folded and transferred all of Tai's clothes into a couple of suitcases. He placed theses by the door, then went to go check on Tai's progress. Matt noticed Tai's boxes were still empty. Tai sat on his old bed, slowly turning his soccer ball in his hands, staring at it.
"Tai? . . ." Matt asked. Tai didn't take his eyes off the ball.
"Dad got me this. It was back in elementary school. I ran home and told him I made the soccer team. . . He was so proud. . . It felt so good to make him proud of me. . . He went out and bought me this that same day. It became one of my most treasured belongings." Tai continued to stare. Matt walked over and sat on the bed. He took the soccer ball and put it in one of the boxes.
"Just because of what he did doesn't mean you have to forget him, or stop loving him. It's a part of your past Tai, treasure it." Tai nodded. He looked over at his dresser and saw a picture there. He leaned forward and grasped the frame it was in. It was his first soccer championship won. Tai, of course, had made the winning shot. It was a brilliant photo, of Tai hoisted up on his dad's back. His mom and very young Kari were beaming beside him. Tai had one finger in the air as if to say, "I'm number one!" Tai's eyes teared once again as he studied the photo. Then he dropped it on the floor. Then he stood over it and raised his foot. To Matt, his intention was clear. In a bold move, Matt jumped down and snatched the picture up before Tai could crush it.
"Matt, give it back!"
"Give it back!" Tai sounded angry and insistent.
"No!" Matt responded. "I won't let you damage it!"
"Damn you Ishida!" Tai said, and slumped back on the bed. Matt walked over and placed the picture in one of the boxes. He walked over and took both of Tai's hands in his.
"Tai, I know you want to lash out at your parents, but ruining your memories and belongings will not hurt them. One day you're going to want these, so please try to keep an open mind." Tai stared at him, raising an eyebrow, but he knew Matt was right. So for the next thirty minutes, Tai and Matt went through the room, packing what they could. Then they brought all the boxes down stairs, and loaded them into Mr. Ishida's car. Matt started to get into the car, when he saw Tai just staring at the house.
"I want to say goodbye."
"I want to go say goodbye." Tai ran into the house. Matt sighed and ran after him. He got through the door, and then saw Tai standing there, staring at the floor. They were in the main living room now. This is where it all happened. Tai stood there, shaking. Matt saw his face, and realized Tai was shaking in rage.
"Tai. . . come on now. Say goodbye. . ." Tai looked over and glared at him. Matt didn't budge an inch.
"Sure, let's go back to your house and have a fun time!" Tai snapped.
"Tai, it'll be okay. . ."
"How the hell do you know? All your parents ever did was argue and divorce!" Matt stepped forward, starting to cry.
"And you think that was easy for me? I know how hard it hurts to have your home broken Tai! But I didn't have anybody. You at least have me!" Matt then realized he was shouting, and he stopped. Ashamed, he walked outside, and leaned against the wall. Matt heard footsteps, and Tai was there beside him.
"I'm . . .I"m so sorry Matt. I didn't mean to attack you like that. Can you forgive me?" Matt shook his head.
"There's nothing to forgive. . . and I'm not upset over what you said. I just. . . I hate seeing you like this. Tai, you never were helpless before! Even in the Digital World, you always had a plan, and didn't give up. Now you seem so. . . hurt and lost. . . And I can't do anything to help you!" Tai pulled Matt into a hug.
"Oh Matt. . . you're right. I was giving up. I just. . . feel so helpless and . . . it feels like the world is conspiring against me! But I'm not helpless. Like you said, I have you." Matt snorted, but Tai hugged him tighter. Matt pulled back and looked into Tai's eyes.
"Tai, I know this is going to be difficult for you. But I want you to try. I want you to help me help you." Tai nodded.
… … … … …
And so Tai did. Over the next few weeks, Tai had tried everything to help get his spirit back. He went to school, he played soccer, and he spent lots of time with Matt. They hardly kissed, and their relationship was a little rocky at times. It wasn't progressing like Matt thought it would at all. But of course, these were different times. He awkwardly held Tai every night, sometimes through tears. Kari and T.K. came over constantly. Kari was almost back to normal. Being with T.K. and his mom has paid off a lot, and them being there for Tai has helped him a lot as well. Tai soon got to where he didn't cry anymore. His random mood swings became less frequent. And he started to talk more and more. The Digidestined all lent out a hand in the wake of what happened. They were all supportive and were there if needed.
But there was one thing Tai was still missing: his happiness. Tai hadn't smiled once since the . . . incident, as it was starting to be called. Neither Kari nor Tai had talked to or seen their parents, but they didn't expect to. Matt just missed the old Tai. . . the one who was always smiling. So he had a thought one afternoon. It was actually the afternoon before they got out for winter break from school. Nearly a whole month off! But anyway, Matt had a thought. Then a thought turned into an idea. And the idea turned into a plan. He picked up the phone while Tai was away playing soccer. He had several calls to make.
… … … … …
Matt walked into the room with his tray. He heard voices behind him.
"Quiet you two!" he said. The voices stopped. Matt smiled. "Operation "Finding Tai's smile" begins."
"You know Matt, maybe I should come up with the plan designations," Gabumon said.
"I didn't have a problem with it," Agumon replied.
"It was too long." Gabumon commented. Matt rolled his eyes.
"Alright, go wake him up." Matt ordered. The two Digimon ran in and jumped on the bed.
"Tai! Tai! Tai! Wake up! Wake up!" Agumon shouted as he jumped up and down. Matt was then glad his dad went to work early. The Digimon continued to jump on Tai. Tai woke up suddenly. He yelped, and then rolled out of bed. Matt couldn't help it. He laughed. It felt so good to laugh, as he was surrounded by grief constantly.
"Ha ha. Very funny." Tai grumbled. His black eye was now gone, as were the rest of his bruises. It was only the ones to his soul Matt was concerned about. Then Tai realized who had woken him up. "Agumon!" He gave the Digimon a big hug. He pulled back and for a second, Matt saw a flash of happiness. Just a blip. But that was enough to get Matt excited. The real Tai really was under all of that pain. "What is all of this?" Tai asked. Matt smiled.
"Oh, I thought we could use some company today. Agumon and Gabumon, I made you some food in the kitchen." Matt came in holding a tray of breakfast, cooked specially for Tai. The Digimon got off the bed and ran to the kitchen as Matt set the food down in front if Tai.
"Do I need to feed it to you?" Matt teased.
"Yes." Tai responded, and another glint of mischievous and glee hit Tai's eyes. It was only there a second. Matt raised an eyebrow. Tai responded by copying the action. So Matt sat down, and picked a fork up and sliced off a bite of one of the crepes. He held it up.
"Here it comes Tai." Matt cooed in a sing song voice. He put the food in Tai's mouth.
"I'm not a baby." Tai protested, still chewing.
"Oh yes you are. You are my baby Tai." Tai rolled his eyes and was fed another bite.
"Where did you learn to make crepes?" Tai asked. Matt smiled wider.
"My Grandfather is French, you know that." Tai nodded. Indeed he did. T.K. and Tai once spent a night in France with Matt's Grandfather.
"Here it comes again!" Matt cooed in a teasing way.
"You know, I can do this myself." Tai said, reaching for the fork. But Matt held it back.
"Oh no. . . you wanted this, so you're going to get it."
"Matt I was just-." Tai's mouth was suddenly filled with crepe. He chewed and swallowed, all the while giving Matt a glare. Matt finished feeding him and allowed Tai to dress. Then Tai walked out of the bedroom and was tackled by the Digimon. They spent the whole morning horsing around, and spending time with each other. Finally, Matt looked at the clock.
"Crap! We're late." Tai looked at Matt oddly. Matt turned to the Digimon.
"Okay everyone. Time to go!" Agumon and Gabumon sadly nodded. They hugged Tai goodbye and walked to the computer. Matt pulled out his Digivice and opened the gate. The two Digimon went through.
"Come on!" Matt said, walking over and helping Tai up. Matt rushed them to his car. He drove onto the road. Matt hadn't taken a look at Tai's mood lately. He glanced over. Tai looked amused, and yet still slightly dull. But Matt had more up his sleeve. He drove for quite a while before reaching the destination. It was a fancy style restaurant, not to mention Tai's favorite. Tai looked at Matt.
"What? Why are we here?" He asked. Matt only smiled.
"You've been playing all morning, you need to eat," Matt replied innocently. Tai shrugged and nodded. He and Tai walked in.
"How may a help you? The hostess asked. Matt stepped forward.
"Yes, Ishida?" She smiled.
"Of course! Right this way." She turned and walked into the restaurant. The two followed her.
"You made a reservation?" Tai whispered to the blond, who then smiled wide.
"Well, you kind of have to. And plus, don't we deserve an intimate meal together, you and I?"
"We're here!" The hostess said, reaching a door at the back.
"A private room?" Tai asked, his eyes wide with surprise. The hostess smiled.
"Yes. And you've kept them all waiting." She opened up the door.
"Them all?" Then Tai gasped. Inside was all of the Digidestined. They had all gathered here, to share a meal together. Matt looked at Tai, who smiled, but only for a second. Matt took a deep breath. He was patient, and there were still things to come. Matt lead Tai over to the empty seats at the huge round table. Tai sat beside his sister, and Matt sat to the right of him. If felt good to be with the group, all together again. They all talked, ate, and joked around. Matt saw Tai coming even more out of his shell. Tai was becoming part of the group again. But sadly, the meal didn't last but a couple of hours. The Digidestined, who were all in on the plan, tried to engage Tai in everything. And yet, the sorrow always returned.
When they were done, several Digidestined had to leave. But some were part of the next activity for Tai.
"So Tai, feeling up to a game of soccer?" Sora asked. Tai looked at her.
"A game of soccer. I bet I can still kick your ass!" Tai raised an eyebrow.
"Oh yeah? Well, you've got yourself a game!" Davis and Ken were still sitting there, and still part of the plan.
"Tai is gonna sweep the floor with Sora!" Davis exclaimed.
"Yeah right Davis. Sora is stronger than she looks!"
"Nope! Tai is the best!"
"Guys, guys! You'll just have to join our teams then. Right Tai?" Sora inquired. Matt looked over at Tai, hoping he didn't catch the poor acting of Davis, Ken, or Sora.
"Yeah! I'll take Davis, and you can have Ken!" Tai said. Matt rolled his eyes. Tai could be so thick sometimes. But still, it was Tai.
"We are going to cream you!" Davis exclaimed. Matt drove the five of them over to the school soccer field. The four got out.
"But we don't have a soccer ball!" Ken said. Matt sighed. He walked over to the car. This was one of the hardest parts. It would either go down well, or not at all. He opened the trunk, and pulled out Tai's soccer ball, still in pristine condition.
"I have this one." He said. Sora and Tai both recognized it, of course. Matt gaged Tai's reaction.
"Well? What are we waiting for? We play to twenty!" The other four people let out a sigh of relief. Matt gave the ball to Tai, who kicked it into the field. Ken, Davis, Sora and he ran after it. Matt sat on the sidelines, being the unofficial 'referee' when there was a questionable play. But everyone played pretty much fair. Matt mainly watched Tai. As the game progressed, Tai became more and more determined and confident. He kicked more goals, and his natural smile started to come back. Soon he was lost in the game, and played excellently, beating Sora's team by ten points. So they played a few more games. It lasted hours into the day. Tai's mouth was smiling, but his eyes weren't. He still looked on edge. But it was a start.
Once the games ended, Matt sent a text to Kari.
"Hurry up! The game is over!"
"We're done and out! Everything is ready! Have a wonderful night Matt. ;) Hope the plan works. I love you."
"I love you too Kari." Matt put his phone away. Slowly, Tai's smile was fading once more. One by one, Matt dropped Davis, Ken, and Sora off. Then he drove back home.
"That was fun Matt." The brunette halfway smiled at Matt. Matt smiled back. Then they were home.
"It's not over yet. But you have to do one thing first."
"You have to let me blindfold you.
"Tai, do you trust me?"
"Well?" Matt turned the boy so he could look at him. "Do you trust me?" Tai nodded. Matt tied the blindfold around his eyes. He led him into the house and into Matt's room. He then promptly took the blindfold off.
"Wow! There's. . . . nothing here. Matt?"
"Tai, you've been playing soccer for a while. Take a shower in our bathroom, dress, and then meet me in the living room." Matt winked, and then shut the door leading out of Matt's room. Confused, Tai did as he was told. He took a shower, and then dressed. By then it was nighttime, and the evening was settling down, masking the apartment in night's darkness. Tai walked hesitantly into the living room. There, all set up, was a candlelight dinner. Matt was standing proudly beside it.
"Matt?" Tai whispered. Matt held out his chair, and Tai sat down.
"I told you we deserved an intimate meal together." Matt smiled, and sat down.
"So. . . you planned this whole day." Tai finally noted. Matt nodded.
"I did. Why? Was it a bad day?" Tai's eyes widened and he shook his head.
"No! In fact, it's one of the best days I've had in a long time. Thank you so much." Matt smiled, and Tai returned it. Not fully, but Tai made the attempt. "So what do we have?" Matt pulled off the tray covering.
"Spaghetti and meatballs." Tai chuckled.
"Wow Matt, how original. I never would have thought of that for a romantic evening." Tai joked. Matt rolled his eyes. In secret, he loved that Tai was making those jokes. It was so like the original him. Matt could feel he was close to a breakthrough.
"I know it's cliché. But things are only cliché because they work." Tai shrugged and nodded at his sense of reasoning. All throughout dinner, Matt could see little pieces of Tai coming out. Tai would slurp up his noodles, or wrap too much on his fork. Matt nearly burst into tears of joy at mannerisms he used to find so irritating. Then they were finished.
"So is that all you had in mind for this fun filled day?" Tai asked. Matt shook his head.
"I have a little more to do." Matt said, mischievously. Tai followed him back to the bedroom. It was late now, and both were beginning to feel tired. But Matt had one thing. He stepped into the room, and gestured toward the bed. Tai stepped forward cautiously to get his gift. It was his goggles. Tai gasped. Matt smiled. It had taken a little coaxing, but Davis let Matt have Tai's pair of goggles back. Matt felt it was a big part of who Tai was, and to reclaim Tai, he needed all the pieces.
"They are yours. I talked to Davis, who was more than happy to return them." Matt said silently. Tai turned to him, his face unreadable.
"But. . . why?" Matt knew he had to reveal everything.
"Why Tai? Because you have lost yourself. You are buried under so much pain and sorrow. So I had an idea. I would re-gather different aspects of your soul and show them to you so you could push through that shell of hurt. With best friends, such as Agumon. With your team, such as the Digidestined. With your passion, such as soccer. And with your . . . with me. . ." Tai looked down at the goggles. He slowly put them on. Tai walked over to Matt.
"With my boyfriend. . ." Tai said, looking in Matt's eyes. Tai looked down. "I guess I never actually asked you."
"It's okay Tai. Boyfriend or not, I will always be here for you. I will never hurt you."
"Matt, I guess I . . . all of this . . . it should have gone different. It should have been about me and you. Instead. . . it's blown past that point. But I'd . . . I'd like it to be me and you again. Matt, will you please be my boyfriend?" Matt had tears in his eyes.
"Yes. You didn't need to ask, but YES!" Matt threw his arms around Tai. Tai kissed him. This kiss was different. Whereas the ones before were needy and passionate, this one was calm and warm, and loving. It was like they were slowly taking their time. Tai then pulled back, for the first time, without crying. And then he smiled.
Finally, this was what Matt had been waiting for. Not only did Tai's mouth turn up into a grin, but his eyes shown. His eyes were bright with love, laughter, and confidence. This was the Tai Matt had fallen in love with. This was the Tai that had been hurt and buried under pain. This was Tai, now moving past that pain. It was his Tai.
"T-tai?" Matt asked, between tears of joy. Tai gently wiped away those tears and kissed Matt a second time.
"It's me Matt. I'm here. . ." Matt smiled wide. "Is that all you had planned?" Tai asked, still smiling.
"I. . .um. . . well. I was going to . . . cuddle."
"What? No sex?" Matt's eyes widened before he saw the laughing in Tai's eyes. "Just kidding. . . I'm just joking. . ." This time, Tai picked Matt up and brought him over to the bed. They climbed in, side by side. But Matt had a question.
"Tai, what made you finally come back?" Tai hesitated, thinking of his answer.
"I was holding onto a dream. But now I realize that when that dream broke, I broke with it. You helped me. You made me realize what true love was. You stuck by me no matter what, and you'd do it even if you weren't with me. And you helped me re-find myself. You promised me that first night that you would, and so you did." Matt blushed, embarrassed he was awake when Matt said that. "You are the love of my life Yama. And I couldn't live without you. . . That's why I came back." And with that, both boys pressed together, kissing, expressing their love. It was passionate, although only a make out session. Neither of them were quite ready for sex yet.
There was only word Matt could use to describe Tai now: mended. Tai was back and better. This didn't mean they wouldn't have hard days, and that there wouldn't be any difficulty ahead, but Tai was no longer that broken, trembling boy on the doorstep. Tai was better.
"Tai? Tonight, could you hold me?" Tai raised an eyebrow, but nodded. This time, their positions were reversed. Tai was holding Matt tight from the danger, wrapping his arms around the blond. Matt thought this would be right, instead. . . Matt sighed.
"What's wrong?" Tai asked. Matt turned to him.
"I . . . when I held you each night, it felt wrong. Like our positions were wrong. You were supposed to be holding me. And now. . . now this feels wrong." Matt explained. Tai started to chuckle. This turned onto a full blown laugh. Matt scowled. Although it was great to hear Tai laugh, he wanted to know what was so 'funny'.
"What the hell are you laughing at?"
"Sorry . . ." Tai struggled with calming down. But he did. "Matt, you act like I am the dominant one, and that I am supposed to be taking care of you and holding you. But if this whole incident has taught us anything, it's that we are versatile. You hold me when I need you to, and I hold you when you need me to. We hold onto each other. We are equals. . . So. . ." Tai turned Matt over, to where their bare chests were pressing together. Tai put his arms around Matt, and vice versa. "We hold each other. And how does that feel?"
"It feels. . . nice. . ." Matt said, getting sleepy. Tai smiled tired.
"I love you my Yama."
"I love you my Tai. . ." They both fell into a blissful sleep in each others arms. They knew that it would still be rough, but they had each other. And that's all that mattered.
Tell me what you think.