A/N: Greetings! Yup, I know I haven't posted anything in a while, so here's the first chapter to my sequel to 'Vengeance'. Muchas Gracias to Sailormoonshadow for all her help! ^_^ I really hope this one lives up to its predecessor and BTW, if you haven't read the first one, I recommend that you should, otherwise you'll be totally lost as far as the plot goes.
Disclaimer: yeah, yeah, yeah I don't own Digimon.
Rating: For now, this chapter is rated G, but that probably won't stay the same throughout the story. *shrugs*
Radiant shafts of morning light cascaded through Takeru Takaishi's bedroom window, as the golden haired child of Hope rolled over onto his side, moaning slightly.
"T.K.!" a feminine voice called out to him, "Are you up yet?"
Takeru instantly recognized his mother's voice and responded with an inaudible grunt as he turned onto his stomach and buried his face into the soft, welcoming embrace of his pillow.
A faint gurgling noise emanating from the boy's stomach caught his attention and his muscles tensed, trying to hold back convulsions. For two days he had to endure the waves of nausea that constantly plagued him. He wasn't sure exactly what his body was trying to reject, since he had abandoned the notion of food for the duration of his ailment.
"You'll be late for school!" his mother reminded as she strolled down the hall towards his room.
He could hear the footsteps approaching and his head pounded with each step, even though her footfalls were faint. He squeezed his eyes shut, tightly clutching his pillow.
Today was finals. He couldn't miss that, he thought, fighting back the slight headache, as he slid his comforter off and prepared for his journey to the dresser.
Come on Takeru, you can do this, his mind encouraged. If mom sees you still lying in bed she'll do one of two things. Begin her hour-long lecture about how important school is, making you undoubtedly late for said subject of importance, or she'll break out the thermometer and force you to stay home for the remainder of the day. In either case, you'll miss your finals.
Slowly the boy arose, his frail form trembling uncontrollably. Placing two socked feet on the floor, he willed his legs to move forward, but it appeared as though his limbs refused to cooperate. T.K. was barely able to keep his eyes open, let alone stand, and soon he found himself sitting on the corner of his bed, his arms wrapped tightly around his midsection as he sank forward, resting his upper body in his lap.
Nancy reached the door and carefully pushed it open, peering inside.
"Almost ready?" she asked, expecting her son to at least be fully dressed, but instead he sat still clad in his nightclothes, quietly dozing off on the edge of his bed.
"Takeru!" his mother snapped, placing her hands on her hips.
T.K.'s eyes immediately shot open as he bolted upright, promptly wishing he hadn't, for his temples began to throb and he had to grit his teeth to withstand the oncoming pain.
"I want you dressed and ready for school in fifteen minutes," Nancy instructed before turning on her heel and shutting the door, a tinge of worry and motherly concern nagged at the back of her mind.
T.K. slumped back down into his former position. A small voice in the back of his mind chided him for not informing his mother of his condition. He had begun to wish that he had stayed in bed, and that his mother would rush in any minute bearing a thermometer, aspirin, and various other medical paraphernalia that would not help him in the least, but would ensure him a day off from school. No, he shook his head, besides that his brother had a concert tonight, and all the digidestined were invited, even Mimi, who had flown in the week prior. In America, they were already on their summer vacation, and the pink haired girl had begged her parents for a chance to visit with her friends before the summer was through. If he backed down now, he'd miss the reunion, and then what would Matt and the others think of him.
With great caution, he brought himself into a standing position and hobbled over to his bureau. Lackadaisically tugging at the drawer, he reached in and retrieved a fresh pair of socks, as well as another unmentionable undergarment, and finally his turquoise colored shorts.
A great yawn escaped his lips as he stiffly made his way towards the bathroom. T.K. especially liked their new living arrangements, primarily because he had the luxury of his own bathroom. The young boy shuddered slightly as he recalled the events that led them to relocate once again. Almost a year had gone by since a man known to them only as Murphy had abducted him and his brother. His mother feared that remaining at their former residence would invite further danger and sought a new apartment immediately after they had returned home from the hospital following the string of events.
It had been quiet for over seven months now, and T.K. felt safe, despite the fact that Murphy's body had never been recovered. The police reports claimed that all the occupants of the vehicle had been incinerated, leaving behind no remains. Maybe he was hiding behind false hope, but it was that hope that kept him from going over the deep end. The first few months proved rather difficult to adjust to, as he would glance over his shoulder every few seconds, sure that someone would be there, and feeling no more relieved when he discovered no one was there and paranoia had begun to set in.
It gradually got better. The nightmares were the worst of it. So many times he would wake in the night, frantically dialing his brother's cell phone. As always, Matt would answer, his voice barely above a whisper, as it was probably the third or fourth time that night he had been awaken and he had gotten accustomed to speaking to T.K. with an ever constant, soothing voice. Once his brother served his part and seemingly chased all the bad thoughts from his mind, he would fall back into a troubled sleep. If Matt were lucky, he'd hold out till morning, however, usually within a half hour his phone would ring again, as if it were T.K.'s personal distress signal. T.K. attempted to push the dreadful thoughts from his mind. Murphy was gone and that was that.
His mind, much like the rest of his body that morning, decided to be uncooperative as thoughts of his brother drifted to the surface. Matt, either being less gullible or more stubborn chose not to believe the police reports. Even after they had determined, that the knife embedded in the wall of his apartment complex had not been Murphy's, for the fingerprints did not match up, Matt still refused to acknowledge their findings. He laughed when they claimed it was probably some prank devised by a 'punk kid' since the story had gone public. T.K. tried once again not to think back on these past occurrences.
This time his efforts seemed to pay off. He set his clothes off to the side and resting his palms on the countertop of the sink gazed into the mirror, ready to get back to the matter at hand. This wouldn't do. Even he could tell he looked ill. His face had taken on a sickly pallor and his eyes that were always full of spirit, appeared to be drained of life.
Running an unsteady hand through his mussed up bed hair, he turned on the faucet, allowing the water to create steam before he thrust his hands underneath the flow of warm running fluid. Scooping up a handful of the tepid liquid, he splashed it into his face.
The water instantly brought color to his cheeks. Reaching back, he blindly swiped at a hand towel as he turned the tap off. His hand finally met with the familiar terry cloth and he lightly patted his face with it.
Blinking a few times, he brought his gaze back to the mirror. At least he looked somewhat better, though he did not feel it.
After slipping into his new clothes, T.K. ambled over to his closet and retrieved his trademark blue and yellow long sleeved shirt.
"Ready?" his mother chirped from the doorway. T.K. jumped at the sound, his stomach performing a series of flip-flops as he did.
"Just about." He said back, trying to sound as cheerful and healthy as possible, thankful his mother didn't catch the disturbing look on his face while he pulled his shirt over his head.
Nancy waited patiently in the doorway, holding a light brown sack. Noticing that he still had an audience, the blonde quickly gathered up his school books and hurried toward the door.
"Here." Nancy stated handing him the bag.
"Oh thanks Mom, but I already packed a lunch." T.K. said, rather confused.
"This isn't lunch, this is your breakfast." Nancy replied, "You won't have time to eat here, you'll be late. Maybe if you had gotten up on time…" she began to rattle off. T.K. took the cue and grabbed the bag from his mother, planting a light kiss on her cheek as he rushed into the kitchen to fetch his lunch.
Just as he had reached the threshold a coughing fit came on. His eyes filled with panic, as he tried desperately to stifle the incriminating noise. Nancy stepped into the kitchen right as he got his illness under control.
Tapping her index finger on her chin, she gave the boy a look that contained a great degree of suspicion.
"Something's wrong here." She said staring into his crystal blue orbs after studying him over for what seemed like hours to T.K, but in actuality had only been mere seconds.
T.K. clutched his books to his side and bit down on his lower lip, almost hard enough to draw blood, but not quite. Worry was written all over his features, as he feared that she had discovered the truth. Something had given it away he thought, judging by her scrutiny.
"Are you feeling alright?" she inquired, folding her arms across her chest, as T.K. drew in a deep breath, feeling very uneasy.
The jig was up he thought, as his mind raced with a million excuses concerning why he should be permitted to attend school that day, the foremost reason that stuck out in his mind was that if he were well enough to go to school, he was well enough to go to Matt's concert.
"You know you forgot your hat," she continued, smiling brightly.
T.K. expelled the breath he had been holding as relief flooded over his face, he dropped the brown sack she had given him onto the table along with his books.
"My hat? Right!" the boy laughed nervously as he whirled around to get it. The sudden motion brought on a wave of dizziness.
Nancy watched curiously as he stumbled down the hall, nearly toppling over as he rounded the corner into his room.
T.K. emerged from his bedroom, his white fishermen's hat adorning his mess of blonde locks.
"That's more like it," his mom smiled. "Better hurry." She added, as she headed back down the hall to finish preparing for work.
T.K. grabbed his lunch off the counter and stuffed it into the backpack lying in the corner near the door.
"Don't forget breakfast!" Nancy called.
T.K. rolled his eyes and wandered back to the table. He shoved his books into the backpack and snatched the bag up, eyeing it with contempt as if it had wronged him somehow.
In truth, he was frustrated because he wished he could eat it, but his stomach advised otherwise.
A forlorn sigh found its way past his lips and he hoisted his pack over his shoulder and started for the door. Slipping his shoes on, he reached for the doorknob, taking one last glance over his shoulder towards the hallway. He could feel his bed beckoning to him, but instead he gave a loud grunt of determination and firmly pulled the door shut on his way out.
The walk to school proved more difficult of a task than the teen had originally anticipated, as it seemed he had to use the majority of his strength just to overcome one block.
Holding the brown paper bag tightly, he cast his head toward the pavement and trudged on, all the while being consumed by waves of nausea and dizzy spells. He had been so concerned with how to take each step, avoiding any sudden motion that might throw him that he scarcely noticed when a spiky haired brunette sauntered up beside him.
"Hey T.A.!" Davis said, walking carelessly with his hands behind his head.
T.K. blinked, his glum expression turning to face his fellow digidestined.
"Hi Davis." He managed, in a low monotone voice. If one hadn't been paying attention they would have mistaken him for his brother, such was the depressed demeanor that was evident in his voice.
"Whatsa matter?" Davis queried, cocking his head to the side. "Man you look awful, you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or something?" the boy asked in both curiosity and concern.
"Um…I'm just tired, you know. Studying for finals and all. I had a late night cram session." T.K. lied, in truth he had gone to bed rather early the night prior, as he couldn't even stomach the dinner that his mother had placed before him at the kitchen table. When her back was turned, he had scraped the contents of the plate into the garbage disposal.
"So, whatcha doin' this weekend? It's like the first official weekend of summer. You gotta have something planned." Davis said, in his usual demanding tone of annoyance.
"Well," T.K. said, swallowing back the urge to vomit, "Matt's having a concert tonight, and the original digidestined are getting together for a reunion."
"Man, didn't you just have one of those?" the brunette recalled absent-mindedly.
"Yeah, but that was months ago. And none of us has seen Mimi since, and Joe's been very busy too."
"Oh, well you and Kari are gonna miss some fun! Yolei, Ken, Cody, and I are going to camp out on the beach. It's gonna be awesome!" Davis chirped, clenching his fists for emphasis.
T.K.'s attention span to Davis' rambling began to dwindle, and it wasn't long before the boy was concentrating more on the cement than to the babbling brunette.
"Hello! Earth to T.K.!!" Davis flailed his arms in the air in front of the blonde, trying to re-establish the conversation between the two that he finally realized he had evidently been holding with himself.
"Huh?" T.K. blinked, "I'm sorry, you were saying?" the bearer of Hope tried to cover up the fact that he hadn't listened to a single word Davis had uttered since he told him about the beach.
"I asked what was in the bag?" Davis said, stopping in front of the boy and placing his hands on his hips.
"Oh this," T.K. indicated, holding the brown sack up, "My mom made me breakfast this morning, but I didn't have time to eat it." T.K. had forgotten he had been carrying the item in question, and was contemplating tossing it in the trash, but decided to relinquish its contents to Davis instead.
"You can have it if you want, I'm not very hungry." The blonde said, handing the bag to Davis, who eagerly snatched it up and began to devour the food inside.
"Mmm…your mom's a good cook!" he mumbled, with a mouth half filled with food.
T.K. sighed and wished their trip would be over soon, so he could sit back and relax at his desk and wait for their tests to be handed out. The sooner this day was through with, the better. Maybe he would feel well later on, at Matt's concert, at least that is what he hoped, and he was good at hoping, sometimes it paid off.
T.K. trudged on until they reached the entrance to the school, watching as Davis crumpled the empty bag up and tossed it into a nearby trashcan. Could that boy pack it in, was the only phrase to cross his mind.
"Finally," the blonde said, his muscles relaxing. Grateful that he didn't have to walk any further than the few steps it would take to get to his class, and there he could rest, for he had begun to feel quite fatigued.
Davis glanced down at his watch. The schoolyard seemed vacant, as a sharp ringing noise echoed through the halls.
"OH NO! We're late!!" Davis cried out, grabbing T.K.'s arm and hauling him off towards their first class.
The tall, dark figure watched in the shadows eagerly. He had heard every word of their conversation and was pleased with himself. Of course he had gotten quite adept at sneaking about and remaining oblivious to his prey. He had been assigned to more or less stalk the blonde haired boy and his older brother for over a month now. He knew just about everything there was to know of the two. Where they lived, who their friends were, which classes they were enrolled in, everything down to the minutest detail. The man was good at his job, and took great pride in that fact.
Mentally taking note of his recent findings, he ducked back into the bushes and crept along the outer wall of the schoolyard, his target being T.K.'s first class of the day.
After listening to Davis' excuse as to why they were late, their teacher finally told the two to have a seat as he rubbed his temples. T.K. only sighed and shook his head, as he took his seat next to Kari.
"You don't look so good." The girl commented, as his eyes snapped to attention, focusing on her.
"Whatever do you mean? I feel fine." T.K. said, trying to grin.
Kari didn't buy it. She had known the boy far too long, it was almost as if she could read his features like a book.
"You should be at home. Does your mother know you came to school sick?" she queried, concern evident in her voice.
How did she know? T.K.'s mind raced with questions he already knew the answers to. Was he that obvious? Or was it just Kari? Davis hadn't taken any notice to his illness, and neither had their teacher. In fact, he was convinced his mother hadn't even suspected. Then again, Kari seemed to be more perceptive about him than most people. It was no secret they held a strong bond with one another, ever since their departure from the digital world that fateful summer.
At first T.K. took it to be the sign of a great friendship, but as the years went by the feelings he held for the brown-haired girl seemed to evolve much deeper than that of a normal familiarity. He wasn't sure whether he was too young to understand or not, but he was aiming towards the notion that he might possibly love her. As his mind contemplated this, he was harshly brought back to reality when a large hand slammed a piece of white paper down on his desk.
T.K. quickly averted his gaze from Kari to the owner of the hand that still lay on his desk.
"Ready for the final Takeru?" his teacher asked, which if one were to translate actually meant 'stop ogling the pretty girl and get to work.'
T.K. forced a smile and nodded, withdrawing a pencil from his back pack as he set to work on the test before him, all the while ignoring the pain that crept into the back of his head.
Kari was somewhat disappointed that their instructor had interrupted them. She really wanted to know how T.K. was feeling. She just knew he was ill. The brunette twirled her pencil around between her fingers and awaited her test paper, glancing over at the blonde every now and again. It was all too clear to her that he was trying to suppress some sort of pain; either that or he had come across one heck of an algebra equation.
"Eyes on your OWN paper, Miss Kamiya." Her teacher snapped, startling her. She promptly turned her stare down to the paper that now lay on her desk.
Forty agonizing minutes had passed, and the blonde had finally completed the last problem on his exam. He turned his paper in and was now sitting at his desk, eyeing the clock. He hoped the bell would ring soon, freeing him from this torture.
Leaning back in his seat he quietly stretched and began to rub the back of his neck when something caught his eye. He quickly turned towards the window, but noticed nothing was there. What had he seen? T.K. shrugged and reached down into his pack to find something to read, perhaps he would study for his next test while his body permitted, his headache had left him halfway through the exam, and he was grateful for that.
The dark man peered into the window of the classroom, instantly spotting his victim, as T.K. was the only one wearing a white hat. He was shifting into the second phase of the plan his boss had laid out for him, which consisted of playing mind games with his subject. Once he was sure he'd caught the boy's attention, he ducked back down, suppressing a small snicker as he did so. He enjoyed this part of the game, and always loved to watch his prey squirm under pressure.
Once he felt the proverbial coast was clear, he raised his head again, this time he wanted to be seen.
T.K.'s fingers began to twitch impatiently, as he ran a clammy hand over his face. He was certain he saw something, just as he was certain he could feel the walls of the classroom closing in on him.
Okay, he tried to reassure himself, there wasn't anything there, you were only imagining it Takeru, his mind told him. If you look again, there will be nothing there. T.K. wanted to confirm this to himself, hoping it would calm his nerves, but when he glanced over a second time something, or rather somebody was there.
The blonde blinked as if doing a cartoonish double take as he made eye contact with a dark haired man, whose beady, black eyes seemed to bore holes through him. T.K. gripped the sides of his desk, his nails digging into the wood as his face became flushed, and his forehead moistened from perspiration. T.K. looked about the room, wondering whether he had become delusional on account of his sickness, or whether his paranoia had returned. No one else had seemed to acknowledge the man's presence outside the window, but then again everyone seemed to be glued to their final exam.
The blonde bit down on his lower lip, his eyes locking on Kari. Surely she would have seen the man; he wasn't going crazy was he? T.K. knew if he could just get the girl's attention, she might see the man too, but currently she seemed to be immersed in her test.
He couldn't just interrupt class to confirm his suspicions, oh how he prayed for some sort of distraction at that moment. As if by some divine power, T.K. was rewarded, as Davis, who had been fiddling with his writing utensil for some fifteen minutes, managed to launch the projectile across the classroom, hitting their teacher right between the eyes.
"Davis Motomiya!" the elder man snarled, as the classroom erupted with laughter.
"Oops!" was all the boy could reply, his face glowing a crimson red, as the corners of his mouth twisted into a sheepish grin.
Perfect, T.K. thought as he leaned over to Kari.
"Quick question." He whispered, "What do you see over there?" he asked, pointing to where the dark figure stood, his face plastered to the window pane.
Kari's gaze followed T.K.'s finger. "I see a window, and some trees, and part of the school parking lot. Why?" she answered innocently.
T.K. shot a look back towards the window. He was gone. The boy's face fell in disappointment, "Nothing." He muttered, slumping down in his seat. Kari looked at him with confusion, as she couldn't tell whether his last reply was a statement or his answer to her question.
"Alright class, settle down." Their instructor's voice commanded, shaking his head at the boy he considered to be the bane of his existence.
"Sorry sir." Davis cowered, sliding himself lower in his desk. He didn't need to get into any kind of trouble on the last day of school.
"Class you have ten minutes." He reminded, checking his watch.
Kari stared at T.K. longingly. She really wished to know what was bothering the boy, besides the fact that he was sick, but their little intermission provided by Davis had cost her valuable problem solving time, as she quickly scanned her paper to find where she had left off. Her questions would have to wait till lunchtime.
As soon as the bell rang, T.K. was up and out of his seat, awkwardly shuffling towards the door as he fought past an onslaught of anxious teens.
Have to get to a phone… He thought, as he clutched the sides of his achy head, anxiety building in his already troubled mind. His eyes seemed to swim in his sockets uncontrollably as he scanned the rows of faces darting to and fro. An overwhelming sense of fatigue began to gnaw at him, and he wasn't sure how long his legs would allow him to remain standing, but he knew he had to make this one phone call, it was important.
"T.K.!" Kari's distinct voice cried out over the monotonous drone of the crowd. The brunette waved her arms in the air frantically, as she jogged over to the blonde, shoving past the stampede of children.
T.K.'s eyes closed and his entire face twisted in pain, as he placed a hand on his stomach and leaned into the adjacent wall, allowing a stream of east bound students to nearly trample him.
"T.K.!" Kari huffed, as she made it through the last of the crowd, seemingly out of breath. She placed a hand on his shoulder, warmly trying to ease whatever discomfort he had, even though she knew her touch would probably do very little to aid the boy.
"I'm taking you to the nurse's office." She announced, her face full of concern for his well being.
"I'll…be…f-fine…" he managed, not sounding very convincing to even himself.
Kari threw him a cold stare, which he interpreted well enough. He knew it would be no use arguing with the determined keeper of Light, especially when she had her mind set on something.
"T.K. please," she almost sobbed, and T.K. could have sworn he caught tears welling up in her eyes. " I don't want to see you in the hospital." She murmured, as images of her past experiences with the medical facility crept into view. Kari had always been a sickly child when she was younger, and she despised that part of her past most of all.
All at once her mind was enveloped with flashes of bright lights, children screaming down sterile, white corridors, as something sharp stung her arm. She heard a small whimper and at first thought the noise had come from herself; when she glanced down to see her big brother rubbing his eyes as fresh tears cascaded down his red cheeks.
"What's wrong Tai?" she barely spoke above a whisper. "I'm sorry you have to be here, I wish you were back home playing soccer." She apologized, feeling as if her brother's tears were solely her fault.
The small boy ceased his crying and stared up at the girl laid out on the gurney in disbelief. His mouth hung open, his lower lip trembling all the while. He couldn't believe she was apologizing to him. Without noticing, his head began to shake in disagreement. He closed his mouth and then opened it again to speak, when a large hand grabbed his wrist tightly, and he was yanked towards its owner.
Kari bowed her head, her eyes closed tightly as she squeezed down hard on the object she was holding, lost in her own memories.
"Kari! Ow! I thought you were trying to help me, not break my hand." T.K. winced, shaking his hand out as he brought it up for inspection. Five tiny crescent indentations in his palm stared back at him.
The sound of T.K.'s voice broke Kari from her flashback and she immediately apologized, wondering when she had taken his hand in her own.
Not wanting to explain herself, she grabbed the boy's arm and somewhat dragged him towards the nurse's office.
"Come on." She said, though to T.K. it sounded more like an order. The boy followed obediently, lest he lose an arm to the girl's vice like grip. Neither he nor she were aware of the two eyes that watched them from the opposite end of the hall. Another satisfied smile spread over the dark man's lips as he turned on his heel, exiting the building through a pair of double doors.
…Well, what do ya think? Total crap, huh? LOL! I'm not sure how fast chapters will go on this one, I've been trying to write a little each week. Anywho reviews would be greatly appreciated, and also this story may contain some Takari and some Masasuko, just a fair warning, but I suck at romance. ^_~