Important: I have got to be the slowest writer known to man! I'm so sorry it took me so long to get this out. In fact, some of you might want to go re read/scan the first chapter in case you've forgotten anything. So sorry!

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Never seen a blue sky

Yeah I can feel it reaching out

And moving closer

There's something about blue

Daisuke was still cold when he woke again. His headache was mostly gone, a sort of numb pain, but the same beeping noise that he'd woken to before was bound to give him another headache. With a groan, he sat up slowly, taking in his surroundings. He wasn't in his bedroom anymore, in Jun's instead. It was much darker, not having a window.

The watch continued to beep on the nightstand right beside him. He grabbed it, noticing how his hand felt like it was being weighed down. The second and third lights were blinking. He looked back at the nightstand to see his usual three bottles of medicine now accompanied by four more. Those doctors seemed to love filling him with nothing but pills. Didn't they consider the possibilities of him going crazy and overdosing?

Jun walked in the room at that moment, startling when she saw Daisuke sitting up, but smiling, too. She took the watch from Daisuke's hands, pressing a button on the side to turn it off. "I'm glad you're awake. Takeru has been calling every day for the past week. He's even been by a couple times."

Daisuke felt his stomach lurch. "T-Takeru? Does he…"

"He only thinks you're sick with pneumonia," Jun assured him. She took the lids off two of the bottles and dropped a couple of pills in her hands. "Mom told him that you wanted to go to a concert, and didn't want to have to stay home because you were sick and that's why you were acting too weird that night. Which, by the way, I knew you were at his house, or at least going to it."

"How?" Daisuke asked, taking the pills when she offered them.

"You're best friends…" Jun took an empty glass off the nightstand and went to get him some water, pausing to stick her head back in to say, "If not something more…"

Daisuke's eyes widened, and he stumbled over a protest, hearing Jun laugh in the kitchen. "What's that supposed to mean?" he shouted, hoping she'd hear and wincing slightly when a sting shot through his head. He was about to shout more, but she walked back in, glass of water in hand. He took it and tossed the pills into his mouth.

"It's supposed to mean what it sounds like. You and Takeru do spend an awful lot of time together," Jun teased, poking Daisuke in the side. "And he's worried. It's so cute!"

"It's not cute," Daisuke mumbled before tossing the other pills into his mouth and drinking them down. "There's nothing like that between me and Takeru. We're best friends, and that's all."

Jun rolled her eyes. "Takeru and I. And yeah, like I believe that."

"You and Naomi are always together!" Daisuke retorted, folding his arms and looking proud about his deduction.

"We're girls. We're expected to always be together," Jun answered with a smirk. She nearly laughed when Daisuke blushed and finally broke eye contact. "Come on, Dais, admit it. There's something more than friendship between you two."

Daisuke messed with the pink fringe on Jun's blanket. "No, there's not. We are just friends. Takeru isn't even that way." He snapped his head up to look at her and added quickly, "And, before you ask or accuse, yes I am gay. It's not that big of a deal."

Jun smiled and took the glass from him. "I know it's not. I always had the feeling you were when you used to play dress up with me, and stare at my photos of famous guys for lengthy amounts of time. However, gay or not, you need to be asleep. Mom says you still have a few days in bed before you can go back to school."

~~~

His shoes made no sound as he walked down the concrete road, hands neatly placed at his sides. Everything was completely silent. Even when the wind scattered dry leaves in front of him there was no sound. He stepped on a few, still expecting to hear their crunch, yet only feeling it under his shoe. The sun was not shining, but he wore sunglasses, causing an eerie shadow over the already gray world.

Takeru was still sitting up ahead, waiting patiently for him as he approached. He couldn't remember how he'd gotten on the overpass, but Takeru was there, leaning against the railing. As Daisuke tilted his head to the side, looking down on the twisting roads below, he could see Yamato, and farther yet was Ken, sitting on a bench that was oddly placed right in the middle of it all, the roads curving around it.

Ken held his whip in his hand, but his Digimon Emperor outfit had disappeared and now he sat with a dark coat over him. His hair slid down, blocking his face from Daisuke's view, and his arms wrapped tighter around his body, like he was trying to protect himself.

Daisuke shook his head and looked away, re-focusing on Takeru. He needn't worry about Ken just yet. There would be time, hopefully, for that later. Besides, had he wanted to go to Ken, he couldn't. Something was pulling him to Takeru, something stronger than he. Daisuke was on autopilot, letting whatever it was draw him nearer. Takeru was his friend; there was nothing for him to be afraid of.

Upon this thought, Takeru pulled his legs beneath him, standing up to face the approaching person. Daisuke gasped, but his breath was stolen away in the wind, the sound fading before it had a chance to become known. Takeru was different, and not simply in the way he dressed, which made him look very different compared to normal. No, Takeru's clothes hardly startled Daisuke.

It was his eyes.

~~~

"I heard you on the wireless back in '52…"

Daisuke groaned and rolled over. The eighties radio channel was definitely not one he wanted his alarm set to.

"…but that didn't stop-"

The music cut off sharply as Daisuke slammed his hand onto the snooze button. He rubbed his eyes and sat up; he had managed to adjust to all his new medicine, but the stuff still made him quite dizzy at times. It took him a good while to slide out of the bed without falling over. The alarm went off again, now on another song, and he went ahead and switched it off completely. A few days earlier he'd been moved back to his room, his mother thinking that the sunlight would do good now instead of bad.

"Daisuke?"

That would be Jun, making sure that he was getting up. Today would be his first day back to school in two weeks, and to be frank, he was afraid. Takeru had come by the day before, saying he'd be waiting at the usual spot. It had been the first time Daisuke really saw Takeru since what he designated as 'That Night' and it'd been great to see his best friend again, though Jun smirking in the doorway the whole time made him nervous and jumpy.

"I'm up," Daisuke called, somewhat weakly, back. His eyes scanned the room, finding that everything appeared blurred. He rubbed his eyes again, growing agitated when nothing cleared up. "Jun!"

Despite the urgent call, Jun still knocked on the door to announce her presence before walking in. She peeked inside, smiling a bit as she watched Daisuke rub his eyes over and over again. "Yes, oh mighty one?"

"Why can't I see?" Daisuke demanded. He was getting frantic now. Of all the days for him to have problems…

"You can't see? At all?"

"No… it's just so blurry… Why?"

"I'm not sure. It couldn't be the medicine. It would have been a problem before now," Jun replied, her smile fading. "Get some eye drops out of the bathroom cabinet and see if that clears it up, no pun intended."

"Okay…" Daisuke held an arm out in front of him. "Can you direct me there?"

"Sure," Jun laughed and took his hand. "Come on, my blind brother."

Daisuke stumbled a bit as she pulled him into the bathroom. She asked him to tilt his head back and dripped the eye drops in. It didn't take many blinks before his vision cleared up again, and Jun ushered him back to his room to get dressed. Big sisters could definitely be helpful at times. He'd been wondering the night before about Ken, and how bad things had gotten in the digital world without him. The others were capable of doing things on their own, but Ken would take the advantage of one team member being gone.

Jun was buttering her toast when Daisuke staggered into the kitchen still sleepy. "Hungry?"

A smile spread across his face. "Yeah."

The morning was a constant jibber-jabber as Jun talked about the latest gossip at the high school while Daisuke sat thinking about the digital world. He was happy that Jun was still being nice enough to make him toast and butter it, because, quite honestly, he was kind of far out in his thoughts and would have burned himself on the toaster.

Daisuke was skipping out the front door when he heard Jun yell to him, "Oh! And you've been sick with pneumonia, okay?"

"Right!" he yelled back and dashed out of the apartment.

As the clock neared seven, Daisuke skipped down the stairs. Normally he'd take the elevator, but he'd been lying down for the past couple week and it felt nice to stretch his legs. He didn't bother to wait for Jun. Whereas she was a loving big sister in private, she hated being seen with her kid brother in public, and Daisuke didn't mind respecting her wishes every now and then, especially when she'd been doing his school work while he was sick.

The sun was hiding behind dark clouds that threatened rain, but Daisuke's mood wasn't altered in the slightest. He rather liked the way the cold wind blew and the sky continued to darken instead of brighten. It had to have rained when Daisuke was asleep. He could remember hearing the sound of the droplets hitting the window, but couldn't open his eyes to see it. Story of his life: not being able to see.

Hikari was reading a book when Daisuke came up behind her. They lived only a block from each other and always walked to school together. It wasn't until recently that Takeru started going out of his way to meet them. He left earlier than Miyako and Iori and was often waiting at the school for someone to show up, so he decided to start meeting Daisuke and Hikari halfway.

"Hey Hikari," Daisuke chirped.

She glanced at him briefly, smiling but her eyes attached to the words on the pages of the book. "Daisuke! I'm glad to see you again. We were really worried."

"We? You mean Miyako actually cared there was something wrong with me?" Daisuke asked crisply. Hikari didn't reply, not that he expected her to, so he continued on as they started down the sidewalk. "What do you mean see? You're stuck to that book."

"This book happens to be very good," Hikari shot back playfully. She closed the book nonetheless and stuffed it inside her bag. "I can't read with you talking to me anyway. So, I heard Jun was doing your homework. I guess this means we need to have a study night so you can catch up, sick one."

"Ha, ha. How did you know she was doing my…" Daisuke drifted off with a frown. "Takeru isn't one much for keeping secrets, is he?"

Hikari gave a short laugh. "Not those kinds of secrets."

"What do you mean 'those' kinds of secrets? A secret is a secret!" A long time ago, this protest meant something to Daisuke. It was the rule by which he'd lived his life. Now it was merely a joke, in both a sad and amusing way.

"Kind of like a sin is a sin?" Hikari poked him in the side and raised an eyebrow.

Daisuke groaned and pushed her hand away. They'd had this conversation before, and he wasn't about to get pulled back into her web of deception. How she could still manipulate someone's mind when that someone knew she was manipulating him was beyond Daisuke's understanding. When Hikari had a good notion about something, she was hard to beat in argument, and after these arguments, the loser would feel stupid and confused.

"Don't start that again. You won, remember? Let it drop," Daisuke mumbled, though he wasn't truly upset.

Knowing this, Hikari simply smiled and fluttered her eyes, latching herself to his arm. "Whatever you say, Dais. Whatever you say."

Her answer was only a contemptuous snort as Daisuke half-heartedly shook her away. She moved away and skipped ahead of him to where Takeru would be waiting around the corner. At the edge of the corner, she peered around, her face lighting up like she wasn't expecting Takeru to be there. She said something out of hearing range of Daisuke, then giggled and moved around the corner.

Daisuke quickened his pace to catch up. They wouldn't leave him, but he was a bit anxious to see Takeru. Jun-induced thoughts began to drift through his mind and he quickly shook them away, cursing himself when he heard Haiku give a short laugh. The Council continued to believe that they had control over all his thoughts, so it was important to let Haiku hear something occasionally, but he hadn't wanted that heard!

Takeru was laughing with Hikari about something, typical for when Daisue came around the corner. "Hey, Daisuke. Lagging behind as usual?"

"Somebody has to stay the same," Daisuke replied, giving Hikari a wink and Takeru a smile. "Just because Hikari can bounce around at seven in the morning doesn't mean I can. I'm an afternoon kind of guy."

"Is that a new watch, Dais?" Hikari grabbed Daisuke's arm before he could jerk it back in time and studied the silver watch that took the place of his old one. "I didn't notice it before. Wow, pretty high-tech. What are all these lights for?"

Quick thinking wasn't an attribute of Daisuke's – the times he tried having failed – but when he did think something through, the results were usually good. He expected Hikari and Miyako to notice the new accessory and was glad to have an excuse. "Yeah, my mother bought it for me and thinks it's the coolest. I don't know what those lights are for. Decoration, I suppose."

He pulled his arm back, maybe a little too quick and rough, but Hikari didn't appear to notice this. Her smile only got wider and she turned in the direction of the school. "Well, it's a neat watch," she perked. "Let's go, or we'll be late."

As she idly talked about the lessons they'd been learning and made plans for a study night with Daisuke, Takeru stayed quiet. He watched Daisuke from the corner of his eye. The pneumonia excuse didn't seem right to him, but he would play along with this little game of Daisuke's, for the time being. There would be a point and a place to confront Daisuke about the white lie.

--

"Interesting subject, isn't he?"

Niwa Kiyoshi stole a look in the rear-view mirror at the man sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette, even after being asked not to. He frowned at the words used and went back to watching Daisuke walk with his two friends on the opposite side of the street. There were times when Kiyoshi doubted the legality of the studies performed at the Revision Center, but he wasn't in the position to make suggestions.

"You don't like calling him a subject, do you?"

It would be foolish to reply to Takeuchi Haiku. Whereas Haiku was one of the doctors, Kiyoshi was merely a runner, the person to get the 'subjects' when they were needed or causing trouble, like Daisuke. A smile appeared on his face as he thought about the younger Motomiya. The smile faded just as quickly, though. I never meant to hurt you… I never mean to lie

Haiku took another long drag from his cigarette, his face hidden by the shadows of the dark van. "Interesting thoughts he has.  Very interesting. I didn't know a child could be so wise at times. I wonder… Do you think the Council would let me have permission to keep Motomiya under full watch?"

As much as Kiyoshi wanted to snap a remark about the Revision Center and its ethics, he knew better, only letting his frown deepen. The man in the back seat bothered him, always had. Of all the people Kiyoshi had ever known, Haiku was definitely the best at getting under his skin.

"You like Motomiya Daisuke, don't you? You think he's a funny little character, causing us so many problems," Haiku accused. He didn't sound bitter and spiteful, but… amused?

A whirring noise made Kiyoshi look back once more. Haiku was flicking his cigarette butt out the window. The sunlight that drifted in caught the edge of his face, giving Kiyoshi a small glimpse. Not that he hadn't seen Haiku before, but it was so eerie being around him that it left one feeling as if in the presence of a ghost.

"Tell me, Niwa, why do you not trust the Council's decisions?" Haiku asked, still sounding amused.

Kiyoshi turned the key in the ignition and started the van, the person he'd brought Haiku to see already out of sight. He carefully pulled into traffic and made his way through the curving streets back to the Revision Center, thinking about Haiku's question. Perhaps the Council wanted to keep an eye on him. It was a very plausible possibility.

"I trust their decisions," he answered simply.

Haiku smirked. "I'm pleased to hear that."

--

Asked myself what it's all for
You know the funny thing about it
I couldn't answer
No I couldn't answer
 

The halls of the school held a few students who were slower than the rest in the rush to get home. A door slammed, echoing through the empty hallways, and a couple girls laughed together as they bounced out the glass front doors and down the school steps. Except for the occasional click of locks, the hallways were silent.

Daisuke stood in the bathroom, staring at his reflection in the mirror. The soccer coach would be upset with him for not showing up for practice, but at least he had a good reason for it. He slowly lifted a hand in front of his face and stared at it. It was trembling. His entire body was trembling, and he felt cold because of it, instead of the other way around.

What's going on?

His breath came in short gasps, his heart beating wildly. Jun said there would be side affects from the many medications he was on, but this was ridiculous. The doctors were annoying, even smothering at times, but they never intended to harm Daisuke, or so he hoped.

Gripping the edge of the bathroom counter tightly, Daisuke closed his eyes tightly, grinding his teeth at the pain. He counted backwards in his head repeatedly until the pain subsided into a dull ache and then disappeared completely. When this was accomplished, he checked himself in the mirror, shocked to find that his eyes were bloodshot and his face pale. His body felt terribly weak as he stepped away from the counter and leaned over to grab his backpack from the floor. He wavered for a moment, dizziness nearly causing him to drop to the floor.

Still feeling slightly nauseous, he stumbled out of the bathroom, intent on going home.

~~~

His eyes were deep and knowing. They were soft and relaxed, but attentive at the same time. He watched Daisuke's movement, a small smile on his face. His eyes remained calm until he shifted his head to look at Daisuke a different way, and then they changed completely. Now they were worried, fearful. They glinted with sadness and despair. He turned yet one more time and the sadness faded into happiness and devotion.

But best of all, they were not gray.

In all three forms Takeru's eyes held their color. Daisuke knew now that it had been Takeru's eyes pulling him forward, and he finally came to a stop barely centimeters away from his friend. The color was beautiful, absolutely stunning, even with the shades of it changing each time his eyes shifted, like a hologram being turned left and right.

Daisuke wanted to touch that color.

He wanted to be a part of it, feel its warmth around him. As he slowly lifted his hand, Takeru's eyes, which had been locked on his, suddenly flitted to the left, staring at something beside them. Daisuke paused and glanced in the same direction, wondering what had stolen the other's attention.

~~~

"What makes you think you can just turn tail and run, Daisuke? Now Ken has another area conquered when we could have stopped him! Don't tell me you were afraid!"

Daisuke swallowed uneasily and backed away from Miyako. Would it be wise to tell her the truth? That he couldn't see through blurry eyes and every noise made his head pound? That he was afraid? Afraid of what Ken could do to him when he was like this…

"Miyako… please stop yelling…"

His quiet plea went unheeded by the angered girl.

"All those digimon! They're all enslaved now, probably doing Ken's filthy laundry. Why did you back out when we were winning Daisuke? Without you there to back Takeru and Iori up, Hikari and I were nearly killed!"

Couldn't she see that he was shaking now? He was shaking so badly, and his head hurt so much. Didn't she see the strain in his eyes, the strain to regain his composure? He didn't want to take his medicine in front of his friends… He didn't want them to know what was wrong with him…

"Miyako, I don't think he did it on purpose," Hikari said, gently touching the other girl's arm.

Miyako jerked away. "I don't care! I was nearly crushed by huge rocks because Takeru had to help Iori protect you because Daisuke chickened out!" She spun back around to Daisuke, eyes gleaming angrily. "Just tell me why! Why did you leave?"

Medicine… He needed his medicine so bad. Why, oh why didn't he take it before they left to the digital world? But the situations never sent him into a panic attack before… Why start now? Takeru… His stupid eyes… Why did they haunt him like this? If Takeru hadn't looked back…

"Are you even listening to me?" Miyako bellowed. She reached for Daisuke's shirt collar, but only grabbed air as he abruptly moved out of his trance to his backpack resting in a nearby chair.

Daisuke, are you okay?

The sudden whisper of Haiku's voice made Daisuke momentarily freeze. Through his muddled thoughts, he'd wondered where that voice had come from. This, however, was brief, and he continued to unzip his backpack, something that proved to be difficult when one's hands were shaking.

I've felt like this before… I know I have

Felt like what, Daisuke?

I remember

"Daisuke! Don't ignore me!"

Once more Daisuke became aware of Miyako's high-pitched voice. He winced as it shot more of his nerves on their ends. What again did she want from him? A confession?

"What's so important in your bag that you can't listen to me?" she demanded.

"Miyako… please… Daisuke must have a reason," Iori insisted. The other two nodded in agreement. Miyako started to unclench her fists, but then she thought about those rocks falling towards her and Halsemon and her anger boiled.

"No! I want to know what's going on with him!" Miyako growled, whirling on Iori. "If you'll remember, he was gone for a very long time with a pathetic excuse, and Ken gained control over most of the digital world. The only places that are left need to be defended. How do you suppose we're going to defend them when our leader is backing out of fights? I want to know what's going on with him, Iori! I want to know why he isn't telling us everything!"

Takeru watched silently. He agreed with Miyako about wanting know what was going on with Daisuke, but he wasn't sure that she was going about this the right way…

Daisuke was digging in his backpack now, trying to find the right bottle. There were too many, and which one was he looking for again? Oh yesnumber four

Daisuke

The group watched in amazement as five bottles and two syringes, along with many notes and spirals, came out of Daisuke's bag before he finally gave a triumphant shout. It was only then that everyone finally noticed the way his hands were shaking. They watched quietly as he struggled with the lid on the bottle he had pulled from his bag.

Stupid childproof cap!

Do you mind explaining, no pun intended.

"Daisuke…" Hikari whispered. "What is all that stuff?"

Iori blinked, mouth open in shock. "He… he must be… addicted…"

Miyako felt her original anger swiftly change into a different form. How could one of her friends be a drug-addict? No, certainly not! Not Daisuke! That was the dumbest explanation she'd ever heard, but… Why was he was shaking like that… "Daisuke… give me the bottle."

Daisuke ignored her, still fighting to get the lid off. Honestly, her voice, as well as the others, was simply muffled beeps in the back of his mind, with Haiku's persistent nagging being the only thing he could hear. I need pop caps

Tell me what's happening. Are you sick, Daisuke?

"Daisuke," Miyako held out her hand. "Give. Me. The bottle."

Daisuke, why are you ignoring me? This will only get you into trouble.

Too many voices… Too many beeps

Miyako unexpectedly moved forward, grabbing the bottle in Daisuke's hands. She meant to jerk it form his grip, but found that he was clinging to it. "Daisuke! Let go of the bottle!"

What? What is happening? What's going on? My medicine

I don't appreciate you doing this, Daisuke

Haiku's voice drowned into the muffled beep as Miyako's became clearer to Daisuke. He knew others were speaking to him as well because he could hear them saying his name; he just couldn't hear what else they were saying.

"Daisuke! Let go!" Miyako yelled.

Daisuke

"Daisuke!"

The lid on the bottle snapped – broke – causing Miyako and Daisuke to fall away from each other. The bottle flew from Miyako's hands and into the air as she landed on the tiled floor, blue pills falling and scattering everywhere. The only two noises that registered in Daisuke's mind as he fell against the opposite wall was the clicks of the pills hitting the floor and the roll of the bottle coming to a rest at his feet.

Then the room was silent.

Takeru, Iori, and Hikari stood huddled near one of the computers while Miyako sat on the cold floor. All stared at Daisuke, whose own eyes were focused on the pills, until slowly lifting to Miyako. For the first time since meeting Daisuke, Miyako truly felt afraid. His eyes were no longer soft and determined. They were cold, afflicted, and, worst of all, pissed.

"I… am… having…" Daisuke began. His voice came out in forced breaths, but it was low and dangerous, his eyes narrowing on Miyako. "A very… bad… day." He paused, closing his eyes. "This is… the worst… day… I've… ever… lived…" His eyes shot open, burning with rage. "So back off!"

In one quick movement, he leapt at Miyako with the clear intention of tearing her apart. An animalistic fury seemed to have taken over his body, and he felt as if he was split in two, one side of him crying to stop and the other wanting to see blood spilled. Miyako, horrified, raised her hands in front of her face as a weak protection and screamed.

But before Daisuke could get within harming range of Miyako, he found himself unexpectedly forced to go back the way he came. This was painful. He was slammed against the wall, the breath leaving his body. He had only a moment to wince before he recognized the intruder and the object in said person's hand.

"No…" he whispered. The needle shined in the florescent lights just before he felt the prick of the needle penetrating his skin. Daisuke hissed and tried to move away, but someone else had moved onto his other side, preventing escape so that he was forced to take the liquid. "Ow…"

Takeru finally came to life as his friend slumped into an unconscious state.

"What did you do to him?" he demanded, trying to push the two men away from Daisuke. "What did you give him?"

"Please step back," one man said softly, pulling him away. "He'll be fine."

Takeru was about to make a biting retort, but the sad look in the man's eye made him stop. He and the other destined watched as the man pick Daisuke, cradling him in his arms carefully and begin to walk out of the room. The other man was placing everything back inside Daisuke's bag, even picking up every dropped pill.

"Motomiya Daisuke will be fine. He is suffering from a new virus, and we would appreciate if you didn't spread this information to public knowledge. We would not like a panicked hysteria to break out," the man said, throwing the backpack over his shoulder.

Takeru could tell he was lying.

"Why didn't you keep him in the hospital then?" he asked coldly, as if to challenge the man.

The man's frown deepened.

"We thought he was getting better."

*  *  *

Takeru stared out the window next to him. His eyes weren't on the trees or the people walking past the school or anything that would normally catch a bored student's attention. He was watching a black van that had parked at the curb on the opposite side of the school's street. The windows were shaded, but every now and then the sunlight caught something inside and caused a quick flash.

He had seen the van pull up, half noticing it while watching two women argue, but then nobody had exited. That had gotten his attention, and now he couldn't take his eyes off of it…

"Takaishi-san!"

A ruler smacked the top of Takeru's desk, breaking him out of his trance. He snapped his head up to see his teacher standing over him, arms folded as she frowned.

"Is there a reason my class bores you?"

Takeru blushed when he heard the giggling of the other students. "Gomenasai, Takahata-sensei. I thought I saw something."

"Pay attention to me, not what is going on outside."

Takeru nodded, still red, and tried to catch up to the lesson. His curiosity increased, however, when he gave one final glance out the window.

The van was gone.

*  *  *

"Well, at least it's not drugs."

Takeru glared at Miyako. "You mean that you really thought he was addicted?"

"Well, come on, Takeru! You saw him! What was I supposed to think? And why else would he have all kinds of medicines in his bag?" Miyako countered. She was not used to having Takeru against her, and it made it harder for her to get angry with him. Or perhaps she was just worried about her other friend… "He was happy, perky, and even though he didn't always have something nice to say, he at least listened when I insulted him. He didn't even do that! Honestly, I'm not sure he even heard me!"

"She's got a point, Takeru. Daisuke never showed signs of being a person to take medicine, well, other than cough syrup when he had a cold," Hikari added. "Miyako's assumption was fair game. Besides, I didn't want him taking what was in those bottles either. They didn't… look right."

This grabbed Iori's attention, and he slid off the table he'd been sitting on. "Yeah, I noticed that, too. I've never known bottles to be black, and I didn't see any writing on them."

"I did. There were gold letters on one side that said 'Revision Center.' The lids were different colors as well," Miyako supplied, glad to think that her earlier statement had something to back it up. "Those guys were really creepy, too."

"I don't know. One of them looked sad," Iori said.

Takeru smiled. "Yeah, like he hadn't wanted to stop Daisuke from murdering Miyako."

"Hey!"

*  *  *

"Daisuke, why, exactly, are you so quiet? I cannot say we have ever seen this side of you before."

Silence.

"Is there something that bothers you?"

"Tell us, Daisuke, why, exactly, is it that you didn't take your medicine until the effects increased?"

More silence.

"Are you going to speak to us at all?"

*  *  *

Revision Center, huh?

Takeru thumbed through a phone book. Maybe he could get an address as well as a number, not that he wanted to call the place. Perhaps show up on its doorstep, demanding answers about his best friend and leader. If there was one thing Miyako's rant had proved, it was that Ken's threat toward the digital world needed to be eliminated, and fast.

"Just my luck…" he mumbled as he flipped through the R's for a third time. "How many places hand out medicine, but aren't found in a phone book?"

Apparently more than he thought.

With one last sigh, Takeru tossed the phone book back into its place and tried to think of another way to go about getting the address to this so-called 'Revision Center,' if that was even the name. Miyako had later said that she wasn't sure, only having gotten a couple of glances at it. For all he knew, Takeru could be on a wild goose chase.

Yet that look on Daisuke's face haunted him. That look, whenever he turned around to call to Daisuke… that look of panic and marvel that intermingled deep in his friend's eyes. It made him wonder what was going through Daisuke's mind, and if he had somehow provoked the sudden departure of their leader from the battlefield.

But how could he have? He had not done something to upset Daisuke, had he? Perhaps Daisuke had been looking past him instead of at him…

"I'm not getting anywhere!" he yelled to his empty apartment. "Maybe if I… No, that's stupid Takeru! Come on! Think of something!"

Great, I've been reduced to scolding myself, and now I imagine I will go to my room… hey!

Takeru's face brightened as a fleeting plan zipped through his mind.

--

Jun hated the phone. It had to be one of man's worst creations, and yet at the same it was a wonderful asset. 'Can't live with a phone, and can't live without it' tended to be her most said motto.

Since there was no place for her to go in the afternoons – ah, the poor life of a city girl – and the rest of her family were never home – Daisuke usually at soccer practice, hanging out with his friends, or, something that was occurring more and more here recently, being evaluated be the Council, and her parents at work – Jun was, generally, unfortunate enough to catch all the phone calls.

And people didn't exactly call at opportune times.

Today was one of those days where a new person called every five minutes, thus ruining her favorite cartoon. How can one keep up if one only sees two minutes before a phone call or commercial break?

So, needless to say, when Takaishi Takeru knocked in the middle of Zoids: Chaotic Century, Jun all but growled, "Hello," upon opening the front door.

Takeru blinked, not familiar with this side of Jun, but smiling back at her nonetheless. "Hello, Jun! I was wondering if I could get my CD back from Daisuke?"

No doubt due to the stressful past hour with her hand glued to the phone, Jun was not in the mood to ask what the CD was so she could fetch it herself, but rather opted to sigh, "Daisuke isn't here."

"Well, that's fine. I can get it without him…" Takeru hoped she'd get the hint and just let him in. And judging from the looks she was giving him, he felt that he wouldn't be supervised as he snooped through Daisuke's room. If she did happen to get suspicious about what happened to be taking him so long, he could just claim that the CD was lost in Daisuke's mess.

"Yeah, okay," Jun said, annoyed, and let him pass. Through her irritation, she still managed to have a brief thought of just how cute two certain blonde brothers were.

"Thank you, Jun," Takeru said politely, and kindly took his shoes off before going farther into the apartment. "I'll try to be fast."

Jun dismissed his comment with a wave of her hand and hurriedly walked back to the couch, groaning as she caught the ending theme song for her show. At the same time, Takeru caught his first glimpse of Daisuke's bedroom, causing him to let out his own groan in near perfect synchrony. How did that boy find anything? The last time Takeru had visited, excluding when Daisuke was 'sick,' the room had been spotless. Now he was afraid a monster might scramble from underneath the bed and bite his leg off.

The first place Takeru looked was Daisuke's Desk-of-Scattered-Papers. He shuffled through the various homework assignments that had never gotten turned in, the magazines, the drawings, the newspapers, a puzzle, and… what was that? Half of a story? Did Daisuke write? How interesting… The things one learned while snooping.

After rummaging through the drawers and top of the desk for a bit longer than it would have taken him to retrieve a CD, Takeru sighed and chose to look somewhere else. He needed to hurry before Jun poked her head in, not that she seemed to want to leave the television any more than was absolutely necessary.

Nothing was on Daisuke's bed, not that Takeru was surprised. He'd heard Daisuke say once that nothing was more bothersome than trying to sleep on a dirty, cluttered bed. The floor was only littered with dirty clothes, books, plates, cups, hangers – an accident waiting to happen, – and some more newspapers. The closet had boxes of old toys and shirts, but nothing more.

Where did Daisuke keep all his important stuff anyway?

How am I supposed to find out if he's okay if he hides everything? Is he paranoid or something? Takeru was just about to get down on his knees and search under the bed when he heard footsteps coming towards the room. Ah-ha, the mighty Jun-detective was on patrol! And her inside slips told her that Takaishi Takeru was up to no good!

As quick as he could, Takeru found a random CD and tossed it on the floor near the door, hoping that it didn't break, and that, if it did, it wasn't Daisuke's favorite. He turned to study the shelf with all the CDs on it right as Jun opened the door. He casually glanced over his shoulder at her before studying the CDs some more.

"I can't seem to find it," Takeru offered before she spoke. "I guess I loaned it to Hikari, but I could have sworn Daisuke took it…"

"Oh… I was just seeing if you were okay in here. I thought maybe one of Daisuke's pet monsters had eaten you alive," Jun joked, trying to look amused, but feeling she would rather roll her eyes.

Takeru forced a laugh as well and turned around to face her. "Nope, not today. I was lucky enough to… Hey! There it is! And on the floor, wouldn't you know?"

Jun followed Takeru's eyes to the gray CD on the floor. She raised an eyebrow skeptically. "Are you sure that's it?"

"Yeah…" Takeru said uneasily. He walked over to the CD and picked it up, frowning when he saw the cover. It was blank, except for being completely gray. There was no writing on the cover. "I guess it isn't." He sighed. "I suppose I was being too hopeful."

Jun snatched the CD away. "Yeah. Anyhow, I'll tell Daisuke that you came by about your CD when he gets home."

"Okay, thanks," Takeru said, but his voice lacked any form of gratitude. Maybe Jun had not caught that edge of despair… "I'll be leaving now. My mother is probably…"

Ara

Of all places…

A small note was taped all too noticeably above the light switch beside the bedroom door. It was a reminder of an appointment. The thing that caught Takeru's eye, however were the crisp, gold letters against the black paper, reading 'Revision Medical Center.'

Takeru gaped at the slip of paper for a moment before finishing his sentence, noticing Jun waiting. "Probably wondering where I am. She tends to get a bit frantic…"

"I'll tell Daisuke," Jun repeated. She turned to walk to the door to let Takeru out.

Before following, Takeru snatched the reminder off the wall and stuffed it in his pocket, smiling at Jun when she took a look over her shoulder to see if he was following. Slipping back into his shoes, he thanked Jun again, and then dashed out of the apartment.

The elevator doors were opening as Takeru approached them, and two men stepped out. Takeru nearly bumped into one, but looked up in time to move. He would have dismissed the two, but they were dressed in a familiar manner. Pausing at the end of the corridor, he watched them approach the Motomiya's door and knock.

I've seen that guy before, he thought as he studied the taller of the two. Yes, he was one of the ones that took Daisuke away

As he thought this, the man glanced in his direction, making him scurry into the elevator as inconspicuously as he could.

*  *  *

 
Things have turned a deeper shade of blue
And images that might be real
May be illusion
Keep flashing off and on

"He's not exactly responding to our questions, Takeuchi."

"What do you want me to do about it? I can't force words out of the boy."

"It's your job to get answers. Find a way to pry into his mind."

"Or?"

"Or you'll be searching for a new job."

~~~

Colors.

They were blurred, but they were colors nonetheless. They appeared so bright and striking against the gray world that surrounded them. No longer did Daisuke see the winding, empty streets; instead, a room lay before him. A room that, as he stepped into it, gave him an odd feeling of déjà vu. Lifting his hand, he tried to touch the color, yet it recoiled from his fingers, like his touch was dangerous.

Daisuke cried out and stepped farther into the room, trying to touch the colors. The closer he got to the colors, the farther they ran until they were so far away that surrounding Daisuke was nothing but a cold, gray stone room. He shivered, eyes still locked on the colors seemingly pulled away by an invisible tide.

Lining the walls of the room were shelves full of medicine, yet he could see the different colored caps on the bottles, and the colors of the liquids inside glass bottles sitting next to syringes. These colors, too, were blurred. He felt like he was trying to see through a glass of water.

Water…

~~~

"Well?"

"I have found someone – a friend of his – that may be of some use to you."

*  *  *

Okay, I've found the place. Now what do I do?

Takeru stared at the large building in front of him. Lucky for him the appointment slip had a number on it; lucky for him Yamato had a deep voice; and lucky for him Yamato could pose as a parent. His plans truly were brilliant ones. A pity no one ever listened to him.

If you're so smart, then hurry up and think of a way to get in there. Pose as a patient, maybe? No, that wouldn't work.

Why didn't this place have a secret side door like in the movies? Weren't all creepy places supposed to have an entrance that wasn't used often? Or a ventilation shaft somewhere that he could crawl through? How did one go about sneaking in if there wasn't a way to sneak?

"Well, I guess I just walk in and ask."

Though he was an optimistic person and always had a sort of hope about things, even Takeru had his limitations. It was hard to not be a pessimist when merely walking into 'enemy territory' without so much as an excuse in case he was caught. Certainly, "I was coming to find out what's going on with my friend, because I sincerely hate being left in the dark" wouldn't work.

And did he really have the right to interfere with Daisuke's life? This was a question that bugged him quite frequently. One side of him said that he needed to know, since, after all, he was Daisuke's best friend. But the other side argued that if Daisuke hadn't told him by now, he shouldn't be sticking his nose where it didn't belong, and it definitely didn't belong inside a place that looked like a mental institution.

Takeru, however, chose to ignore that line of thought, focusing instead on what was responsible for it, his angel or his devil side?

I wonder about the oddest things

Up the steps and behind the glass doors, the inside of the building appeared to be a hospital. The employees even wore the scrub outfits and a few had stethoscopes around their necks. It had to be a hospital. Well, duh. Revision Medical Center… Doors lined the walls on either side until the main strip broke into smaller hallways that turned off elsewhere. No one, except the woman sitting behind a large counter at the end of the hallway, paid any attention to Takeru as he stepped inside the building.

She peered at him as he approached, her eyes dull and her mouth in a thin line. "How may I help you?"

"I… I was…" Takeru paused, wondering what he could say. Perhaps he could just turn and walk off like he knew where he was going. As strange as the option was, he glimpsed to his right to see if there was possible escape that way. No, but his eyes did catch a sign, causing a new idea to pop into his head. "I was looking for a bathroom. My mother doesn't like me using unclean facilities and thought this place looked clean enough to be a hospital…"

"Where is your mother now?" the woman asked.

"She's… uh… waiting in the car," Takeru answered, trying to smile innocently. "Needed to check the map while I… uh, am away."

The woman seemed to be thinking about his request, and, after a moment, motioned him toward the right. "The bathrooms are over there. Be quick. We're not open to any stranger that happens to walk in."

"Thank you," Takeru replied with a bow, and hurried off.

Once inside the restroom, he let out a relieved sigh. Somewhere, some divine power was looking out for him, otherwise his lame excuse would have left him falling flat on his face, most likely as he was tossed out the front doors for intruding where he didn't belong. Now, though, he not only had to get out of the restroom, but also down the hallway without being noticed.

Quietly, Takeru eased the large door open and peeked out. The woman at the counter had her back to him and was shuffling through files in a cabinet. A man dressed in what appeared to be a lab coat leaned over the counter, talking to her. He, too, had his back to Takeru. Carefully, Takeru stuck his head farther out to see the other side of the hallway. It was empty.

Who's the lucky one now?

Takeru darted out of the restroom and raced down the hall as quickly as possible to avoid being caught.

"Hey! You! Get back here!"

Obviously he wasn't fast enough.

Squeaking like a mouse, he took a sharp turn down another hallway. At the end of this hallway there was a fire exit door, and he nearly burst through it, yet caught himself in time, knowing the alarm would go off. Of course, that would have made everyone leave the building, but he did not want to cause any unnecessary panic.

One of the doors along the hallway was ajar, and Takeru rushed to it. He closed the door behind him, locking it just as his pursuers came around the other end of the hallway. He could still hear the voices outside asking each other questions as he backed into the shadows of the room.

It was not until these voices died away that Takeru let go of the breath he had been holding. Only then did the second voice register in his mind. This voice was soft, like a young child's, female, and it was singing a soft tune. Despite this, Takeru gasped and spun around; still half-expecting to see someone he did not want to.

A dim, blue light glowed further into the room, indicating that the room was rather large. The glow surrounded the body of a small girl sitting at a desk in the corner. Takeru stepped silently towards the girl, listening to her humming softly. The tune was that of a child's song, one he vaguely remembered from his younger years.

As he got close, Takeru recognized the same cinnamon red hair that Daisuke had, only this girl's was long and straight, untidy from lack of brushing. Unlike Daisuke, however, her skin was paler than snow. Her voice sounded so innocent, the notes of the song thick drops of melody cutting through the cold, still air.

Takeru came to a stop beside her, looking over her shoulder to see what she was working on. It was a jigsaw puzzle; the same that he had seen in Daisuke's room. Only, there was a difference to this one. He could not think of the difference right off, not having had but a glance at Daisuke's puzzle the day before. Still the two were remarkably, perhaps even absurdly, familiar.

"Excuse me," Takeru said softly.

Instead of startling at the voice behind her, the girl ignored it. She continued to hum and move pieces about the table; connecting them so swiftly it gave Takeru impression she had done this puzzle many times before.

"I'm sorry to disturb you," Takeru started again, hoping to grab her attention this time. What am I thinking? I barge in here without a warning and start trying to talk to her. No wonder she's ignoring me. And what should I say when she finally responds? "I know I shouldn't have…"

"Don't bother. She can't hear you."

Takeru squeaked again and whirled around. He'd been so caught up in his own thoughts he had not heard the door opening or the person move into the room behind him, unless this person was just that good at not making a sound.

The man stepped farther into the blue light, having shut the door behind himself as well. Takeru's eyes widened upon recognizing this man as the one who'd taken Daisuke away. He'd never forget that gleam of unhappiness in the man's eyes.

"I-I'm sorry," Takeru stuttered. "I just wanted to…"

"Find Daisuke? I know," the man answered, smiling gently. His gaze turned away from Takeru and towards the girl. "She can't hear anything, apart from her thoughts and a mischief elf's voice telling her what to do."

Not sure whether the last bit was meant as a joke or not, Takeru gave a short, uneasy laugh. He did not feel threatened by this man, but after his digital world experiences he had grown slightly paranoid. At the very moment, his gut instinct was screaming at him to run, however, he also had some questions he wanted to ask. In the end, curiosity won.

"If she can't hear… then how does she know that song?"

The man reached over the girl's shoulder and fixed two pieces that had been placed backwards, causing the girl to peer back at him, smiling in a childish way. The man smiled back and even winked at her before answering Takeru's question. "She doesn't know that she knows that song. She can't remember learning it, or the time when she could have heard it. She was too young."

"So… she could hear at one point in time?" Takeru continued, more questions flooding into his mind.

"At one point in time," the man echoed. "That was a long time ago."

"Why is it so dark in here?"

At this, the man sighed, tilting the little girl's head so she would look at Takeru. Her eyes were such a soft shade of brown it was hard to tell if there was color at all. "Light is too bright." The man let her return to the puzzle. "Now then, I'm sorry but you cannot stay. You are trespassing without cause."

"I have cause!" Takeru snapped, suddenly feeling angry. "I want to know if Daisuke is okay! You just took him away without explaining anything! He's sick, and I want to know with what!"

The man turned his solemn eyes on Takeru once more. "Motomiya Daisuke is doing well. He'll be returning to school soon, and you can discuss your problems with him then. However, I do not have the authorization to tell you anything he wouldn't want you to know. Please follow me."

With a grumpy sigh, Takeru cautiously followed the man out the door, taking one last look at the girl before the door closed. Several people frowned at him as he passed, making him feel awkward again. The woman at the front counter gave him an especially dirty glare. Once they were outside, Takeru began his frustrated walk home, but the man's voice rose behind him.

"I'm asking you to leave this alone, Takaishi Takeru. You are being let off the hook this time because we understand the loyalty you have towards a friend," the man was saying. "Should this happen again, in spite of this warning, we will be forced to take the matter to terms that you might not enjoy, and I am sure your mother would not."

Reluctantly, Takeru nodded. He was never the kid to cause problems, well, until today. Daisuke is rubbing off on mewhenever I see him that is

Kiyoshi watched Takeru until he was out of sight. Even then Kiyoshi stood on the steps outside of the Revision Center. He had to admit, Takeru was a very resourceful person, and he wondered how the boy had managed to get the address of the center. Daisuke chose his friends well, making feelings of pride swell in Kiyoshi's chest.

"Why did you let him go? We should have made sure he wont be sneaking back in."

Kiyoshi's smile immediately changed into an agitated frown. He gave a sideways glance at Haiku standing next to him. "He won't, I assure you."

"How can you be sure?" Haiku demanded faintly, still watching the direction Takeru had walked off in.

"Not all of us have to hear a man's thoughts to know what he is thinking, Haiku," Kiyoshi said smartly, and turned to walk back inside.

Haiku caught his arm, jerking him back. "If I were you, I'd be watching what I say a little more closely."

"Is that a threat?" Kiyoshi growled.

With a short laugh, Haiku let go of Kiyoshi and dug in his pockets for a lighter. "No, merely a friendly warning. I'd hate to see a man of your intelligence fall into any predicaments."

*  *  *

Free
Wanna be free
Gonna be free

"You've been doing quite a bit better, Daisuke. We are surprised, but happy for this change of heart."

The six doctors waited for a response.

"This will make the tests easier on you. We don't like to hurt you, Daisuke."

Again, silence.

"Don't you have anything you want to say?"

Daisuke kept his stare on the floor.

One of the doctors sighed, tapping his pencil impatiently. With other patients, they were used to receiving silence, but Daisuke always had something he wanted to say. With other patients, they knew how to handle the silence and get the requested answers. This change in Daisuke made them nervous. Haiku said there was no thinking occurring. Daisuke was dead to them, possibly lost in a deeper thought than they could reach.

"Motomiya Daisuke, this silence isn't going to help your situation. You are still on watch, and acting like you're sick will only anger us."

More silence.

The doctor opened his mouth to speak once more, but the man beside him lifted a hand, indicating that it was his turn to try. This doctor never spoke, making the other five curious to hear what he had to say. But would it have an affect on Daisuke?

"Your friend Takeru said he was worried about you."

Haiku, who'd been watching through the little window, startled as a faint whisper of Takeru's name flew through his mind. Daisuke was thinking again. He pressed a button on the remote in his hand, causing a small green light on the wall behind Daisuke to flash twice. This was how he communicated with the Council.

The doctors were delighted to see that the statement received a response, even if it was not noticeable. Daisuke still sat perfectly motionless on the stool, with his head hanging as he stared at the floor. Without Haiku, the doctors would have thought the latest attempt a failure. Now that they knew he was listening, the doctor continued on.

"Takaishi-san worries for your health."

One of the other doctors took the pause as his cue, saying, "Yes. Your mother says that he came by the apartment a few days ago, wondering if you were all right."

Haiku flashed the light once as Daisuke's thoughts died away again.

The normally quiet doctor sent the other a glare for interrupting his process of cracking the ice walls Daisuke had obviously put around himself. His glare screamed for the others to be silent and they did just that. He waited for a moment to pass before starting over.

"Takaishi Takeru is your best friend."

Takeru… is my only real friend

The light flashed twice.

"You trust him, but don't know why."

Wasn't I supposed to hate Takeru?

The light flashed twice again.

"What is it that draws you to Takeru?"

The thoughts ceased, but a reaction occurred nonetheless. Daisuke lifted his head to the doctors, eyes scanning them until he came to the shadow speaking to him.

"You worry for him as well," the doctor said.

Daisuke's eyes narrowed on the doctor. "Stop it."

Not heeding his request, the doctor continued. "The two of you share something."

Daisuke moved suddenly, like he had suffered from a punch to the face. "Stop it…"

"Friendship is a powerful thing. But you know that."

"Stop it!" Daisuke cried, his hands flying to his ears.

"There's something different about his loyalty to you, isn't there?"

"Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!" Daisuke screamed. He leapt off the stool, grabbed it, and threw it at the shadowed doctors. "STOP IT!"

The doctors jumped out of their chairs as the stool came flying at them. It hit the table at which they sat, and dropped to the floor with a loud crash. Daisuke, meanwhile, had collapsed, holding his hands over his ears and repeating the same thing over and over. The doctors watched him, a few shaking their heads sadly.

Nurses moved into the room, bearing syringes. They rushed to Daisuke's side, trying first to calm him without the use of medicine.

Behind the mirrored glass, Haiku had gotten to his feet and was trying to talk to Daisuke. The only answers he got were sentences of jumbled nothingness.

"Congratulations, Haiku," a voice said from behind him. He spun around to find Kiyoshi standing there, eyes watching Daisuke as he fought the nurses before moving to Haiku. His eyes were hard, full of hate. "It looks like you've finally managed to break him."

Haiku growled, but then smirked haughtily. "You know nothing."

Kiyoshi suddenly reached out and shoved Haiku against the glass roughly, hands drifting closer to the other man's neck. "I know more than you think," he hissed in a despondent, but treacherous tone. He jerked Haiku forward and the shoved him back again, this time rougher than the first. "I don't think the other doctors will like to know what you've been doing to his mind."

"I haven't done anything to him!" Haiku snarled and struggled to get free of Kiyoshi's grasp. "I warned you not to meddle in things you don't understand. Now you think you've got something when really you're on nothing but a wild goose chase."

"Am I? Then why is there fear in your eyes?" Kiyoshi challenged. A flash of panic appeared on Haiku's face, making Kiyoshi sneer. "I told you already. Not all of us have to hear a man's thoughts to know what he is thinking. You should have listened to me."

The door behind Kiyoshi opened and three officers walked in. Kiyoshi let go of Haiku and stepped back. Haiku glared at him, jerking away from the advancing officer. "You don't have any proof."

Kiyoshi lifted a green notebook, watching Haiku's eyes go wide. "Next time you're trying your own experiments and recording them, don't leave your information so readily available."

Haiku had a look of amazement on his face. He glanced back through the mirrored glass, where Daisuke had already been taken away, but the council doctors were still discussing the events. An officer was walking into the room to speak with them, and it was then Haiku knew he had lost.

*  *  *

Patient 1-0-1. File 3-2. Test 33.

Patient Name: Niwa Daisuke

Subject Access Name: Motomiya Daisuke

Subject Code: 3-4-2-6

Thought contact between Subject and Doctor 2-6-1 has been broken. Cause: Unknown. Revision Council Doctors 3-4-8, 2-2-1, 5-4-7, 2-0-9, 3-1-3, and 6-7-0 theorize that Subject had a breakdown of the mind and learned to block thought processor. It has been assumed that Subject has been controlling thought processor with leisure. Due to the recent events, Subject 3-4-2-6 is hereby released under Access Name. Owing to the abrupt stop of the tests, Subject's condition will be abandoned.

~~~

They were putting some sort of liquid in his eyes. It burned, but he had the feeling someone had told him it was only water, and thus, would not. How could water hurt so much? And who was crying? He wanted to see her, this woman that was crying. He wanted to ask her what was the matter. Why did she cry? Was it because of something he did? Or was it for him?

He could not see the people sticking the liquid in his eyes, they were blurred, and their language was foreign. No… he knew that language, yet it was unrecognizable, like they were using words for which he did not know the meaning. They finally let him blink the liquid away, and suddenly, things started changing.

The room was coming back into focus, but the faint colors of it were drifting away. Daisuke could make out a man and a woman standing nearby. He knew this man, but there was something different. The man looked so much younger, and he didn't have that stressed appearance about him. He still wore the same sad expression, though. Daisuke could not recognize the woman at all.

What were they doing to him? Why were the colors leaving? What were these words they were using? Tests? Medications?

But then, as if it had been there all along, Daisuke knew.

~~~

Please
Don't wake me from the dream
It's really everything it seemed
I'm so free
No black and white in the blue

"So I can go home?"

Kiyoshi chuckled at the suspicious look on Daisuke's face. "As soon as they're sure you're one hundred percent okay."

Daisuke's eyes dropped to his lap. "But I'm never going to be once hundred percent okay, am I?"

A small twinge of guilt made Kiyoshi mentally wince. "No. Your eyes will never be healed if you leave the program now. You could always stay on, Daisuke. They could fix… your problem. All they need is a small breakthrough."

There wasn't even the slightest hesitation from Daisuke as he shook his head. "Never. I hate this place and I never want to come here again. They did this to me, and I hate them for that." He flopped back on the hospital bed and glowered at the ceiling. "Why did you let them do it?"

"I thought it was for the best. I didn't want you growing up without a family," Kiyoshi answered quietly. He leaned back in the chair he was sitting in. "They told me the only price for them finding you a real family that could take care of you properly was that they'd be allowed to try a few things. 'Harmless' they told me. 'Absolutely harmless. We just want to try some new medicines on him. The only effects will be slight nausea. Of course we won't try these medicines until he's older.' They lied to me."

Daisuke felt a shiver run through his body. Yeah, they lied. Slight nausea, my ass.

"I honestly thought it was best for your future, and the Motomiya's seemed so nice…" Kiyoshi felt a lump in his throat. I never, ever wanted to hurt you Daisuke. I wish you could understand

"I guess things didn't go as planned," Daisuke said sarcastically. He couldn't help his anger. Memories were flooding his mind, memories that were meant to be forgotten. And he still expected to hear Haiku, whispering, chuckling… mocking him. The silence in his mind was almost as unbearable as the biting voice.

What would he do now with all this knowledge? His past lingered like an old film, a classic that he would not want to forget. Yet it didn't seem real to him.

And what about Kiyoshi?

Daisuke sat up and looked at the man sitting so gloomily in the chair. His eyes were on Daisuke, longing for forgiveness. They were dulled over, bearing pain and sadness, a stark contrast to the cheery eyes that filled Daisuke's memories. Kiyoshi looked much older than his age, the stress over Daisuke having torn him to pieces.

"Are you going to come visit me?" Daisuke asked.

The question brought hope to Kiyoshi's eyes. Maybe one day Daisuke would forgive him, though he did not think he deserved it. "Of course. Unless you don't want me to…"

"I think we have a lot of catching up to do," Daisuke replied with a small smile.

A little time could do wonders.

*  *  *

And move among the stars
You know they really aren't so far
Feels so free
Gotta know free
 

Takeru stretched, enjoying the warm sunspot he was sitting in. Winter had finally succeeded in coming, though it was still mild. It was a bright day, and nothing could spoil Takeru's mood. He leaned against the railing that went down the center of the steps leading to the Revision Center's entrance.

Miyako sat on the other side of the rail slightly above him, working on her homework to pass the time. She glanced at Takeru when he sighed, and something twisted inside of her. Closing the literature book, she tapped Takeru on the shoulder.

"Yeah?" Takeru asked, not bothering to turn.

"Do you… do you think Daisuke is still mad at me?"

Hikari and Iori stopped playing rock-paper-scissors and too looked at Takeru.

"Been wanting to ask that for a while, eh?" Takeru chuckled. He tilted his head back and stared at Miyako upside-down. "He probably doesn't even remember that, and if he does… Well, just tell him you're sorry. Daisuke can be level headed when he wants to. You don't give him enough credit."

Reluctantly, Miyako nodded. She couldn't shake the feeling of guilt, guilt for being the one to start Daisuke's breakdown. Yet, Jun had told her things were going fine, and Daisuke might actually thank her for she had done. Miyako hardly saw Daisuke thanking her in the near future, giving her the cold shoulder maybe, but not thanking her.

But Takeru was right. Maybe she wasn't giving Daisuke enough credit.

There was the sound of glass doors opening and the four sitting on the steps all turned to see who was coming out. Daisuke smiled brightly at them, followed by his mother and Jun.

"Daisuke!" Hikari cried, and leapt to her feet. Iori and Miyako quickly followed suit. Only Takeru remained on the steps, but he grinned up at Daisuke.

"I'm so sorry, Dai. I didn't mean any of it, honest…" Miyako apologized.

"I know you don't care to hear this now, but the digital world is still in grave danger…" Iori, always the one to stay on task.

Hikari hugged her friend. "I've missed having you ask me for all the answers in math."

Daisuke laughed and held up his hands for them to all stop talking at once. "Okay, I'm glad to find that I'm loved, but can we discuss all this later? I just want ice cream right now."

The three of them nodded and started to skip down the stairs toward the parking lot. Jun and her mother nodded to Daisuke and followed the others. Only Takeru remained on the steps, grinning at Daisuke

"So…" he started, finally getting to his feet and dusting the dust off the back of his shorts. "Are you going to tell me what's been going on?"

Daisuke smiled softly. "Maybe one day, but not any time soon."

"Oh. I see. You're going to keep my in the dark, then?" Takeru asked, disappointed.

"Yeah, basically. Until I feel ready to talk about it. I'm still not sure of everything, but it's starting to make sense, you know?" Daisuke started down the stairs, hands in his pockets and eyes on the ground. Takeru joined him and the two headed to where everyone was waiting.

"I guess this means everything goes back to being black and white."

Daisuke paused on the last step, lifting his eyes to Takeru. A small smile graced his features.

"Nothing is black and white in this world, Takeru. It's all infinite shades of gray."

Everything is clearer now
Life is just a dream you know
That's never ending

I'm ascending

-

-

I hope that didn't seem rushed, and made sense. I didn't want to come out right and say everything, but I wanted to let you know the deal. Did any of it make sense? Especially the thing between Kiyoshi and Daisuke?