Authors Notes: This was written a LONG time ago by one of my friends. Hope you enjoy.

One song

Before the sun sets

Glory-On another empty life

Time flies-Time dies...

Glory-One blaze of glory

One blaze of glory--Glory...

Find...

Glory

In a song that rings true

Truth like a blazing fire

An eternal flame...

Find

One song

To redeem this empty life...

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The boy leaned his shoulders against the hard, smooth surface of the wall behind him, pressing himself as close to it as possible to avoid being seen. His breathing was short and small, barely making a sound as it exhaled. As voices from the kitchen floated to his ears, he winced noticeably. It was happening again. They'd been doing it a lot more often these days, their words and tones becoming stronger the longer they went.

It was the third night this week. And the third night that he'd spent out here listening to the argument that was initiated in the room beyond. When it had first began he had believed with all his heart that eventually it would end. That one day, the words would stop and everything would go back to being the perfect little home it had been before. But it hadn't. In fact, it was getting worse. The names and insults were getting more painful as weeks and months flew by, and he found he could do nothing but stand here and listen, praying and denying that when morning broke the next day, everything would be back to normal.

Sometimes it was. During the day, laughter filled the house and the family seemed like one you would see on a corny eighties sitcom where all the problems seemed to disappear by the end of the episode and everything would all huggy, huggy, kissy, kissy once again. But night would come and the mask would drop and the real problems would begin. All hope for it to be easily resolved was slipping farther and farther away.

"Keep it down...The boys will hear us." The mother's voice said quietly.

"We can't keep this up, Nancy." Was the reply.

"Can't we try? For the boys' sake?"

"We have tried! It's been months! We can't do this anymore...for our own sake!"

"You think I don't know that! It's just you know how close those two boys are... They'll be crushed if we have to separate them." Nancy said, her voice beginning to crack with pain.

"Nancy, would you rather them grow up together with us fighting all the time? Or apart in a peaceful home?"

"I just want T.K to grow up in a stable home!! To have both a mom and a dad!" She cried, "Why can't we try again?"

The father's fist came down heavily on the table with a thud, scaring both wife and eavesdropper, "Because I can't take it anymore! And face it, you say all this, but neither can you! I'm sick of it! I'm sick of arguing."

The woman was crying freely now, not at all ashamed by this show of weakness, "You don't think I don't know that? You think this easy for me too? Because it's not. I'm just trying to decide what's best."

The father leaned forward and ran his fingers though his hair, "Goddammit, you don't think I'm worrying about the kids? I just don't see any other way. We've done everything we can...it's too late. It's over, Nancy. It's over."

Nancy leaned back against her cupboards, eyes towards the roof. Her voice came out shaky and small, "So this is it?"

The man buried his face in his hands, as if attempting to escape it all, "Yes. Nancy, I want a divorce."

The words struck home in his companion. The woman broke, her shoulders heaving with horrified sobs. They had both seen it coming eventually, but it hurt. Hurt more than either of them realized it would. The father touched his forehead to the table top in a pathetic attempt to hide the emotions that had twisted upon his face.

"Oh...God..." Nancy whispered to no one in particular.

"It's better this way." Was the muttered reply.

"Better?! How is it better?!"

"I can't stand having to argue with you. I don't want to hurt you again."

The mother whirled away, "Damn you."

"Matt will come with me to Odaiba and T.K will go with you...T.K needs his mother, Matt will understand. Things'll work out...it'll just take some time." The father explained, mostly to reassure himself.

"God, I hope so."

The man got to his feet, "We'll talk to the boys at dinner. I'd like to get this done as quickly as possible..."

The woman nodded, fighting to get ahold of herself, "Yes, me too."

The conversation slowed to a halt as the man left the room and the woman returned to her meal preparations, sniffling once and awhile. The boy who had overheard it all now stood completely frozen, quite unsure of what exactly had just transpired. Had he heard right? Was this really happening? How? When? Where?

WHY?

He had to fight to force down a sob that came up to choke him from the depths of his soul. His mother and father were getting a divorce? HIS parents? How was that possible? They had always seemed...so happy...How...?

It wasn't true! It COULDN'T be true!!

Could it?

Unable to stand another second of the sounds of his tortured mother, Yamato Ishida crept silently up the stairs to his room and leapt inside. Pain enveloping him in a crazy vortex of confusion and uncertainty, he threw himself onto his bed and buried his face in his pile of soft white pillows.

Then he did the only thing he could think of...the only thing that his sense of frustrated helplessness would allow...

Matt cried.

Matt sat around the dinner table and fought with every single ounce of self- control in his body not to show the emotions he was feeling. He didn't want his parents to see the agony of what his broken family was doing to him reflecting in his blue eyes. Try as he might thought, the mask was slipping through his fingers. Merely sitting in this fake drama was driving him insane. His parents were pretending that nothing was happening...that Matt wouldn't wake up tomorrow and find his mom and brother gone...that everything within the Ishida household was perfectly fine even though it wasn't. He hated it. Absolutely loathed it. All he wanted to do was stand up a scream at them for doing this to him and T.K. But he kept tight control.

Don't let them know your hurting.

His parents chatted happily with Takeru who was relaying the events from his play school that day. His father laughed at T.K's story of how his younger son had commandeered some kid's blocks and had to sit in the corner once the lady in charge realized that two towers and the back wall of the other boy's castle were missing, yet little Takeru's block kingdom seemed to be flourishing in completeness. Meanwhile, Matt stared at his meal with absolutely no intention of eating it. His rice mound was looking less and less edible and more and more like Mt.Fuji. Yamato wasn't hungry anyway. Even the thought of eating made him feel sick.

Mr. Ishida leaned back in his chair, wiping his eyes of joyful tears after another twisted tale about the horrors of Day Care. It was then, that his family took notice of him. Both parents face warped immediately into worry.

"Matt, you haven't eaten a bite." His mother wondered. " Are you feeling alright?"

Yes, my home is falling apart. My parents don't love each other but yet, love to play this little melodrama that everything is LALALA! right to the hilt. In a little while, you will separate my little brother and I...who, may I mention, is the only one in the house that realizes I exist and we will each go our merry way to disassociate ourselves on opposite sides of the planet. Yes...I'm am so fine it's surprising I don't explode in absolute happiness. Luckily, what he wanted to say wasn't necessarily what he *did* say. Yamato shook his head, "I'm fine."

"Is it trouble in school? With friends? If that's it, don't worry. When I was in school..." His father began. Matt had to keep from physically wincing. Another one of those "When I was you age..." stories that the boy would rather have a root canal to avoid than having to endure. Especially right now.

Matt was on his feet in a flash, his unused plate in his hands, "May I be excused?" He asked quickly, successfully cutting the older man off.

Matt's mother blinked in shock but it was his father who reached out a hand and pushed him back into his seat. The larger Ishida's eyes grew deathly serious, "No son, maybe you should stay," He cleared his throat nervously, "There's something your mother and I have been meaning to discuss with you."

Here we go, Matt thought. The parents exchanged long worried glances as if they were silently arguing who would have to break the momentous news. It was his father that finally leaned forward and said in a calm, blunt voice, "We're getting a divorce."

Yamato couldn't really be shocked. He'd heard the fights for months and a few hours earlier, had listened to the final plans. Still, hearing it here, straight to his face made it official. Maybe he had half expected for it not to happen. But it was real now. Along with surprise, he was surpirsed that it came with another emotion. Anger. Deep and misdirected but there, nonetheless.

"I know what you're thinking...and I'm sure it won't be so bad. Your mother and I have spoken about it and we've decided that Takeru can stay with your mom and you'll come with me to Odaiba...There's a newstation there where I can get a job. We'll have a nice apartment...and you'll be able to visit your mom on weekends, of course." He said.

How could he be so calm!? He was talking about ripping apart his family and his father sounded like he was discussing what they were having for dinner! Didn't he understand what this meant?!

Takeru's eyes lifted from his plate, dark blue tainted with confusion, "Mama? What's a divorce?"

Matt was happy to answer, "It's when your mom and dad hate each other and want to get as far away from one another as possible."

Matt's mother gave him a sharp look, "Yamato."

"What?" Matt snapped, "You think I don't know? You think all those months that you two were beating on each other I didn't hear it? You think I just stayed in my room like a good little boy ignoring the fact everything was falling apart? Do you think I'm that STUPID?"

"Yamato Ishida, don't you dare speak to your mother like that." His father said angrily.

Matt shot to his feet and in an overwhelming wave of fury, swept plates, cups and containers of food from the table, sending it all flying to the floor in multiple sounds of cracking and shattering, "Yeah, well, as it is, in another couple of months...She won't be my mother!!!"

"Matt! Calm down!" His mom cried.

"I will not calm down!! Why should I? Don't you care? I don't want to be separated from T.K! Why do we have to pay for your dumb mistakes??! You don't care about us...You just care about getting as far away from each other as you can! You NEVER cared. God, I hate you...I HATE YOU BOTH!" Matt was screaming now. His voice rising to new heights of anger and loathing that he did not even realize existed.

"YAMATO!" His father's voice roared but Matt didn't calm down, or for that matter, let down on his onslaught. Months and months of private pain had snowballed into this and now that he'd started, he wasn't going to give up.

He kicked his chair desperately, knocking it to the floor and then slammed his small fists on the table. It hurt him more than the table, but the force of his frustration was there. "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!! I *HATE* YOU!!!"

"Matt! Stop it, please!!"

Tears mixed with his anger and he shouted the same shattering mantra over and over...mostly caused by lack of better things to say but also because at that moment that was truly what he was feeling.

When the world stopped spinning in front of his eyes, a picture came slowly into view. His mother and father were no longer interested in Matt's loss of control. Instead they stood in front of Takeru. The boy had his hands over his ears and his eyes squeezed shut as if the things Matt was saying were physically hurting him. The two parents were attempting to coax him out of his state, all the love in their eyes. Matt's voice faded away as he realized that this was a look he'd never gotten before. The love there was something he'd never seen. Never felt. His hateful chant disappeared completely as understanding took over.

Head dropping, he headed towards his short flight of stairs that lead to his room. He didn't look back at his family, which had seemingly recovered from his tantrum. So he spoke the words he knew were true. The young boy's voice came out shattered and quiet, "I see. You don't care anyway. You never have."

Yamato Ishida's bedroom door slammed.

Rain streaked Matt's window, casting shadows on his face and hiding the tears that were silently falling. His parents had come to "talk" once or twice but Yamato had turned them away. He was not in the mood for whatever excuse they had to come up with. Takeru was the brunt of their problems at the moment anyway. It seemed the younger boy wasn't quite understanding the whole divorce thing. Then again, Takeru was so young and naive that the fact his parents didn't love each other was a hard concept to grasp.

Matt pulled out his harmonica. This thing had gotten him out of a lot of trouble. It had certainly gotten a lot of use lately. The soulful song filled the room, it's notes spilling off walls and even though he was still inexperienced at it, made everything deep and soulful. The sound melted into the soft patter of the rain on the roof, but did little to calm the boy's raging heart.

I need out.

I can't take this.

Can't stay here...

Can't stay...

His window was suddenly not something that was keeping the rain out, but something that was keeping him IN. Out on the streets of Heighton View Terrace, he saw his own freedom. No more arguing parents or talk of divorce. Out in the rain he saw peace.

He could leave. He had some money stashed away. He could catch a train out of town...it would be that simple. That simple to escape it all.

Run! His mind screamed. RUN!

Grabbing a coat and a handful of money...that is exactly what he did. He couldn't stay. He couldn't...Jumping through the window and out onto the fire escape, he made his way down to the slick streets.

Go, and don't look back...He told himself. Don't look back.

Reaching the curb on the far street, he found himself staring at his old apartment building and the family he was leaving behind. He could do this. He could get away. Wheeling away, he ran off into the night.

Yamato's desperate steps stopped slightly in front of his destination. He stood on the bridge overlooking the subway station located at the bottom of the stairs leading below. People still mulling around were awaiting the last trains of the day, one of which the young blonde hoped to get on. He could head to Osaka...or Kyoto. As long as he was as far from Heighton and his parents as possible.

There was just one thing he didn't understand. As he stood here, at the turning point of his young life, he couldn't figure out why he his feet wouldn't walk down to that train, step in the doors and forget the ones that had hurt him so badly. Instead, his body seemed frozen there, watching his freedom dance in front of him.

Could he leave it all behind? Leave this life? His family, his friends, his home...Takeru? At thought of his brother, Matt winced. Could he leave his brother in the hands of his mom and dad? Would they love him...or just throw him away like they had Matt? Yamato felt like he was abandoning the younger Ishida to a life with no affection. While Matt ran away to live in peace, Takeru would be caught up in the constant war that seemed to be their household. It had been bad when Matt had left, but the divorce hadn't even started yet...The blond boy's heart seemed to shatter as the first regret of his escape came floating over his heart. He was leaving T.K all alone...

Leaning back, he found himself falling onto the curb in front of the Subway stairs, gazing down at it as if it were the alluring pits of hell. He was so confused. He could get on that train and leave, never to return to a family who didn't love him...or go back, and stay by his little brother as his world crashed down...

Feeling unwanted, yet unbidden, tears spring to his eyes, he fell forward onto his knees and quickly buried his face in his arms. He hated crying. It made him feel weak. But he was scared, he was disoriented and completely alone...Why was he was so afraid to shed a few tears? There was no one around to see them...there never was.

Somewhere in his self-pitied thoughts, Yamato imagined he heard something. After a few seconds of sniffling and silent, intent listening, he realized he *did* hear something. The soft sound of wheels on pavement made the blonde boy raise his eyes and wipe furiously at the tears that marked his soul.

The fog on the other end of the bridge opened and a small figure on a little red bicycle came into view. Matt watched, interested, as the wobbly bike and it's tiny passenger approached him from afar. The closer the form got, the more Yamato could see of him. The rider was a young boy, probably the same age as him, if not a year younger, with horribly out of control brown hair and wearing black pants, a purple t-shirt and a pair of enormous blue goggles too big for his head but worn proudly around his neck.

The young boy's face was deep in concentration as he attempted to keep himself on the bicycle. Unfortunately, the wheels did not want to stay put on the wet pavement and the bike flew out from under him, leaving the boy in heavy heap on ground.

A few seconds later, the brown haired boy was up once more with a look of pure determination dancing on his features. Grabbing the fallen bike once more, he got back on and was at it again...only to fall a second time after a few more feet. Matt sighed. The kid obviously couldn't ride the thing, so why was he even trying?

The young boy's eyes were now quite visible to Matt and he saw the flame of desire and courage that seemed to leap from their depths. The blonde boy was not at all surprised when the other got on the bike yet again. This time he made it to just in front of the curb that Yamato was sitting before he took the inevitable tumble. It wasn't what one would call an incredibly gentle dismount either. Knees and arms scraped asphalt and his head bounced off the concrete road with a sickening crack, the boy rolled, face down, to a stop in a large, freezing puddle near a sewer grate on the far side of the road.

This time he did not get up.

A strange sense of compassion for the stranger who just wanted to ride his bike filled Yamato and before his mind could properly process exactly what he was doing, he found himself bending over the unmoving form in the water. Reaching out, he placed a hand on the boy's shoulder to see if he was alright.

Matt was greeted with two very large, terrified brown eyes, "Please don't hurt me!"

Matt attempted to smile comfortingly and tried not to laugh. The kid thought he was a robber. Looking down at this clothing, the blonde almost wondered if he looked that much like a street thief, "I'm not going to hurt you. But I will help you up."

Those brown eyes melted into embarrassment, "I'm sorry...I thought you were..."

"That's okay," Matt answered, feeling happy to be talking to someone, "It's a dangerous part of town. You had a right to act like that..."

The boy took Matt's offering and got to his feet, shivering in the cold air because of his not-so-graceful swan dive into the puddle, "Arigato."

"That's alright. I didn't think you really wanted to lay in that puddle all night." Matt said in reply, heading back to his seat on the curb.

The brown haired boy stared at his bike with contempt and defiance, as if he could will it into teaching him to ride. Then, without another word, he walked over and got back on. Matt frowned, not understanding the kid who stood in front of him. After the fall that he had taken, he was going to get back on that thing? Was he crazy or just plain stupid?

"Why do you do it?" Matt called, before the boy could take off into the night.

"Do what?"

"Even try? It's obvious you can't do it, so why don't you just give up?" He asked.

The boy's eyes became clouded with confusion, "If I give up how will I ever learn?"

Matt shrugged, "You just seem to do yourself more harm than good. I mean, would you rather learn how to ride your bike or get your brains splattered all over the road for trying?"

The other bit his lip in thought, then looked at the road, to his bike and back again. Colourful visual pictures seemed to have filled his mind because the young boy's eyes found their way to his scraped and bloodied hands and before Yamato knew it, the boy had dropped his bike and sunk to the ground in despair, "You're right..." Tears filled his small, brown eyes, "I'll never learn to ride my bike..."

Guilt washed over Yamato like a tidal wave. Somewhere in his own misery he had justified bringing this boy down with him. Walking over, he looked into those tears and saw, with shock, all the innocence and fear he had always seen in T.K. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

The boy shook his head and rose to his feet, only to collapse again on the side of the curb, "No, you said it because it's true," A small laugh, "Who needs a bike anyway?"

"You shouldn't listen to me, I don't know what I'm talking about." Matt replied, taking a seat beside the other.

Wrapping his arms around his knees, the other boy smiled, "I might try again...Once I have a few less wounds."

Both boys fell into silence, sitting there in the dim light of the lamp post above them. Matt's mind was full of questions that needed answers to and there didn't seem to a person in the world to talk about them to. Yet, here was this stranger sitting beside him and for some unreal reason, he trusted him. It was like he had met him in some past life or had seen him somewhere before. It was an uncanny feeling of deja vu that was comforting Matt rather than scaring him.

"Can I ask you something?" Yamato said aloud, staring aimlessly at the cloudy sky.

"Sure."

"Does your mom love you?" Was the quick, anxious reply.

Those soft brown eyes widened as if Matt had asked the most shocking question in the world. But as an answer, the boy laughed softly, "My mom thinks I'm crazy. I see monsters...on the tv and outside my window..." A strange look from Yamato ended that, "But I don't know, she's never really told me...I guess so."

Blue eyes lowered, "My parents are getting a divorce."

The boy's head tilted, "Dee...vor...ce? Is that a kind of car?"

"You don't know what that is?"

A sheepish shake of the other's head sent brown locks of hair flying in every direction and conveyed the fact he wasn't familiar with the term quite successfully. Matt's eyes didn't rise, "It's when your mom and dad don't love each other anymore. They're going to move away from one other and separate my little brother and I."

Those brown eyes filled with unyielding compassion, "Oh...that's sad."

Matt nodded and felt the tears well up again. His mind scolded itself, he didn't want to break apart in front of a strange kid he didn't even know, but the other boy dropped his face so it was upside down under Matt's lowered head. "My mom always tells me that it's okay to cry when it hurts."

That was it. Looking into the face of the young boy in front of him and seeing the naive and innocent way he viewed the evils of the world pushed Matt to the edge. He let the tears fall, just wanting to get rid of all the feelings of betrayal and abandonment. Just wanting to show *someone* that yes, he was hurting. Still sobbing he watched the brown haired boy reach into his pocket, tongue sticking out the side of his mouth while he searched and then finally pull out a clean tissue.

"Here," he said, then with stubby little fingers shaped the floppy white Kleenex into a haphazard Origami crane. Placing it on an open palm, he offered it to Matt, "For you."

Matt almost laughed through his tears, "What am I supposed to with that?"

The boy frowned at his creation, "It's the Kleenex crane...my little sister used to make them to cheer me up."

"Kleenex cranes and monsters," Matt muttered, wiping at a wet face, "You're a strange kid."

The boy suddenly grew serious, "Sometimes I can see them in my dreams, the monsters I mean...and they tell me that they're going to kill me."

This did make Matt laugh, "Everyone has those kind of dreams...they're called nightmares."

"No!" He cried in denial, "They're real! You believe me right?"

Matt lifted his hands, "Alright...alright...Sure, I believe you."

The boy sat down again and leaned on his hand, "No one ever believes me."

"I know what you mean..."

"Is it my turn?" The boy asked.

"Turn for what?"

"To ask you a question..."

Matt shrugged, "Sure, go ahead."

"What are you doing out here so late at night all by yourself?" He said, gazing straight into Matt's blue eyes. Yamato tried not to shiver as he looked back into the swirling brown pools across from him. There was a strange sense of knowing in there somewhere and it left the blonde boy unsettled. It was if this kid could see through him as if he was made of glass.

"I could ask you the same thing." Matt quipped.

"I have a reason, I was learning to ride my bike...now what about you?" The other said.

"I ran away. In a little while I'm going to get onto that train and go to Osaka...or Kyoto. I haven't decided yet."

Shock registered on his companion's face, "Why?"

"Because my parents don't love me anyway," Matt's voice rose to anger before he could think about it, "It's my fault this happened. They're always arguing about me...now I figure if I just go away then maybe..."

"Maybe things will go back to normal?" The boy finished dryly. Yamato nodded, "You think things are going to be different once you're gone?"

"Yes...and then, maybe Takeru can have both a mom and a dad." Matt said.

"And you don't get either, is that it?"

"Yes!!" Matt cried, "You think they love me??!! To my mom I'm never good enough...it's all about Takeru and how he needs to grow up in a stable family and how he need the love...and to my dad...well, I'm a failure to him...All he cares about is his stupid job..."

The brown eyed boy's face fell at Matt's last sentence but came back to reality in time to comment, "Your parents care about your brother more than you?"

Matt winced, "Yes...but...it's not what you think, I'm not jealous of T.K...I just want him to be happy. Sometimes it felt like he was the only one in the entire family who knew I existed."

The boy frowned, "Do you know how to ride a bike?"

"Yeah...?"

"How did you learn?"

"My...dad taught me."

Another frown, "When you fell down and scraped your knee...?"

Matt looked up, "My mom would come and sing to me and give me candy to feel better..."

"Do you think they'd do that for someone who they didn't care about?" The boy asked, eyebrows raised.

Fresh tears filled his eyes, "My mom is an artist and she used to paint my picture when I was really little...and once I got into her paints and got hand prints all over her work...but she didn't get mad...instead she put her own hand print on it too and got it framed. It was so corny..."

Matt laughed, "But it's still on our wall..."

"My dad taught me how to play on his harmonica and we used to sit out on the balcony and look at the stars and play songs all night..."

The blonde haired boy turned to his companion, "I never even remembered all that stuff until now."

"Do you really want to get on that train?" The other asked quietly, "Are you ready to leave all those memories behind?"

Matt shook his head, "I...don't know."

"I don't think a mom and dad can't stop loving their children," The boy said, "My mom says that I'm her mark on the world and when she dies, she'll live through me, just like everyone before her. It's unconshu--nal--itio-- chunal.... uhhhhh?"

"Unconditional?"

"Yeah!! Uncundisional love."

Matt smiled and stared into the odd brown eyes of the one sitting beside him. Did this young boy know what he was saying? Yamato could tell he was only saying what was truly on his mind, but the depth of his convictions and the passion he had seemed to give life to all the things Matt thought he had lost.

The boy's voice floated to him once more, "Just because they aren't living together anymore doesn't mean that they love you any less. Don't you think you owe it to them to give them a chance?"

The clouds roared and the inevitable rain began to pour down, soaking them both to the bone and pushing Yamato's hair down into his eyes. Great, now he was wet, miserable AND depressed. He turned to his newly acquired friend, "Shouldn't you get back?"

"Why would I want to do that?"

"It's raining, stupid."

Brown hair sticking to his young face, the boy grinned idiotically, "And let you have all the fun? Besides, you never answered the question...Don't you think you should give them a chance?"

Yamato shook his head wildly, wondering how this boy could make him question his motives in such a way. An hour ago, he had been positive of his choice of leaving...but here, now...there was doubt swirling like an out of control whirlpool threatening to drag him in. He hated this loss of control. Hated the way this kid made him feel about what he was doing, "I DON'T KNOW!" He finally screamed in frustration.

The other backed away quickly, obviously more than surprised at what had just transpired. But his brown eyes widened further as Yamato fell over in a sobbing heap. "I don't know...I don't want to leave Takeru, but my parents...I can't stand listening to them argue like that...I...I don't want to lose my mom!"

The boy fell to his knees and wrapped stubby arms around the blonde haired boy. Matt looked on in amazement as this little, odd show of compassion shattered his cold perspective on the world. This boy didn't know him...why in the world was he hugging him? And after everything Matt had said, what gave him the care to do so?

When the kid looked up again, he smiled, "You're nice."

How this kid went from philosopher to child in the frame of one minute seemed more than slightly disorienting. "Thanks kid. I don't know if you're right. But thanks for trying."

"Someone needed to try..."

"Trying is the first step to failure." Matt ventured.

"If you don't try you'll never learn." Was the reply.

Matt laughed, "You said that one already!"

"Maybe that's the point."

And so we were back to the philosopher again. This kid had more personality changes than a chameleon had shades of colour...

"You're saying that I should *try* the divorce?" Matt asked.

The boy shrugged, "You said yourself that you don't want them arguing anymore...and if you haven't lived the divorce how can you know it so bad? You've got to understand, you're not going to lose either of your parents, they'll still love you no matter if you're living in the same house or on opposite ends of the planet. I think the question is; Can you leave it all behind? Once you get on that train, you'll never see your mom or dad again. Or your brother. Or your friends. You'll have to start all over, with no love...Why leave it all? Why give it up? Why?"

Now that Matt thought about it, there wasn't much of a real reason. To escape the inevitable separation from the one little boy who really cared? Maybe. To get away from the family who didn't seem to want him? Possibly. Or was it just because he was scared? Scared of letting all the emotions he was feeling slowly leak out of his usually oh-so-cool exterior...Scared of letting the fact he was scared and alone show...

The rain slowly simmered off into a taper and then disappeared completely as Yamato's revelation seemed to clear away in the separation of the storm clouds. And it hit him like a moving freight train. It was if his heart had suddenly opened up and he got a long, good look at who he was, where he was going, and the truths behind it all...

He wasn't running away from his parents...He never was...

He was running from himself.

"You're right," Yamato whispered quietly, "All this time...you were right."

Looking up, the blonde haired boy saw that his companion had walked up to the railway near the train station. His brown eyes were diverted downward and looked strange in the glowing lamplight. At Matt's proclamation, he smiled, "Parents are strange things. You don't think they understand you...which may be true. But we can't claim to understand them either. All I know is that your parents love you very much."

Yamato walked up to join him, "How do you know that?"

Another haunting smile, "Why else would they be out here in the middle of the night looking for you?"

"What...where...?" Matt muttered, but followed the others gaze to the platform below. Standing there, among the last throngs of passengers of the night were the forms of the two Ishidas and little Takeru. The last train was pulling out and Matt's father was struggling to get on it. Failing, he shouted in anger and frustration.

Matt's mother buried her face in her hands, "That was the last train! He could be anywhere by now...Oh, God...Yamato..."

"Nancy, this wasn't your fault." Was the father's reply.

Tears had welled up in his mother's eyes, "Don't say that! This is all our fault!! He's too young for this...all alone in some strange city with no money. He's probably freezing. We should've done something sooner! We should have seen this coming!!"

The man shook his head, "How could we have? But you're right...How could we have done this to him?!"

Takeru pulled at his mother's pants, "Mama? Where's Oniisan? Is he coming back soon?"

A shaken sigh, "We don't know, honey."

The tugs became more desperate, "Mama!! I want Matt back!! Where'd he go? Why'd he leave, mama? Doesn't he love us anymore?"

"I...I... don't know T.K..."

"He's gone forever, mama?"

Sobs shook the woman's shoulders and she fell to her knees, "MATT!! PLEASE!" She screamed into the night, "COME HOME!!"

Matt blinked the tears that had gathered in his eyes, "Mama..."

The man walked over and pulled the mother up, who struggled all the way, fighting off the helping hands, "NO!..."

"Calm down...It's going to be alright..." He attempted to reassure the hysterical woman.

"I will NOT calm down...He's your SON dammit! Don't you care?...Oh, God...Matt...Please...Come home..." She murmured, losing all sense of what he was saying.

"Don't say that! Don't you ever say that!" The father jumped in at once, "Nancy, you know what that boy means to me...I love him just as much as you do!" A hand found the man's forehead, "God, you're right...if anything happens to him I'll never forgive myself..."

Yamato whirled from the viewing rail feeling the knife of guilt slip through him...they had been searching for him all night? Maybe...maybe they did care. Shooting a look over his shoulder at the three small figures, he realized that they were heading off. He didn't go now, he'd miss them for sure. He needed to tell them...tell them that it wasn't their fault...tell them so many things...

A small hand on his shoulder made him stop in his tracks. The brown haired boy looked at him with expectation ringing in his small, knowing brown eyes. Yamato gave him a final answer, "I'm going to try. That's all we can do, isn't it? It's going to hurt sometimes...but I'd rather see them once and awhile than never again. You were right, my life without them would be nothing. They love me...I just was too blind to see it."

A smirk, "Not blind. Just confused."

Matt's eyes turned to his parents retreating forms...he was going to miss them!! "I have to go..."

"I know," The other said, "Take my bike."

"Your bike?...but how are you going to...?"

The boy's laugh filled the night, "What am I going to do with it? Ride it home?"

"'Guess not...but..."

"Go. I'll just tell my mom it fell down a sewer grate or something and if she doesn't believe me, I'll tell her that there was someone who needed it more than me." He answered.

"Okay...but..."

"GO ALREADY!"

Taking the other's advice, Matt ran over to the little red bike, that still lay deposited on the pavement, and hopped on. He was about to head off into the night when he remembered who it was he had to thank for all this. The boy had been a complete stranger, met on a chance meeting in the middle of the night...but somehow, he'd managed to change Matt's life.

Frowning, he'd realized he hadn't even gotten the strange kid's name. Looking over his shoulder to say his thanks, he found himself blinking in shock as he discovered that the street was completely empty.

The boy was gone.

Nancy Ishida trod along the under tunnels of the train station, trying once again to get her emotions under control. Her son was gone. She had been selfish and she had lost her Yamato. She should have tried to help him...she should have tried to understand...She should have seen this coming!! But now it was too late for regrets.

"MOM!" A voice seemed to cry through her head. "MOM! DAD!" It sounded so much like Matt, that it ripped at her heart. She was hallucinating now, dreaming that she heard her son's voice.

"MOM!!" It came again, tugging at her. Was it her guilt? Her subconscious kicking in, torturing her for failing her child? Was this her punishment for losing one of her most precious, beloved things?

T.K tugged once again at his mother's pants, "Mama!! Look! It's Matt!"

Nancy's eyes shot up to the fog filled street in front of her...but there, in the parting clouds was a small figure on a bike. He had familiar blonde hair and looked at little worse for wear, like he'd been sitting out in the rain for a long period of time...and at first, she thought she was just imagining it. Like it was a delusion the same as the voice.

But no...

This was...real...

Renewed tears, these ones of utter joy fell down her face as the boy drew closer, "MATT!"

The bike clattered to the ground and the blue eyed child ran across the pavement and flew into his mother's arms. "Mom...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..."

Her grip on her son tightened, afraid that if she let go, she'd have to face losing him again. "It's not your fault, Matt...I'm so glad your safe..."

Matt's shining blue eyes lifted and found his father's. Yamato couldn't keep the gasp from rising up. His father was *crying*. Never in Matt's life had he seen his father shed a tear. The large man lowered himself down to his son's small size, "We were so worried," Then he pulled the boy into a large embrace, "God, don't scare me like that again."

T.K jumped happily up and down, "Oniichan! Oniichan! I knew you'd come back!! Does this mean you still love us?"

Matt's face lowered sheepishly, a blush forming. "I...I... got scared. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you like that. An' I didn't mean to yell at you last night. I know that you're are trying to do what's best for me and T.K. I just didn't want to lose you, I guess."

Yamato's mother smiled gently, "You're not going to lose us Matt, we might not live together, but I promise you, you'll never stop being my son, and I'll never stop being your mother."

Matt nodded, "I know."

His father's hand slapped his shoulder, "We're always here if you need us son."

"An' me too!" T.K said. "I'll be your brother FOREVER!"

Yamato laughed, realizing he'd made the right decision. As dysfunctional and confusing as it may be from time to time, this was his home. It's where he belonged...and it's where he would stay.

"Can we go home now?" Matt asked, quietly.

The parents smiled in relief and Matt's mother nodded, "Yes, I think that's a good idea. You're all wet and you're probably freezing...you're not hurt are you...? Where exactly were you?...and where ever did you get that bike? You didn't steal it did you?"

The barrage of questions continued as the four people headed off into the night and disappeared into the fog, the previous events already fading from their minds.

Up above them, still leaning his chin on the nearby railing, a pair of deep brown eyes watched silently as the group vanished up the street. When he'd went out to ride his bike, this wasn't exactly what he had been expecting. Life sure knew how to make coincidences interesting.

He smiled. His job here was done. He still hadn't figured out why he had stopped. He supposed it was the dreams. The ones that came to him every night, plaguing his sleep with nightmares and horrible visions of the future...and six young people. One of which was a tall, blonde haired boy...one that looked oddly like the boy he had just met. But it couldn't be him...

Could it?

He pulled out what was left of his Kleenex crane and let it spin through the air to the ground on the subway platform below. There it floated gently into a puddle. After a few seconds of skimming the gentle surface, it's shape disappeared completely, as if it were the many memories in life. Beautiful at one time, but long since forgotten in the comparison to the problems of everyday life.

The brown haired boy's mind spoke the one word that had filtered from his dream...One thing that repeated through his mind from the moment he'd seen the boy sitting on the curb of the street.

"Yamato..."

Then, silently, the boy turned on his heel, jamming his hands into his pockets and heading off into the fog filled night...Disappearing as quickly as he had come...

Yamato Ishida gazed out his bedroom window, playing a soulful song on his harmonica once again. He and his family had arrived home the day before and already things were better. The divorce was final, there was nothing Matt could do to change that, but the arguments had died down and his parents were making extra effort to show how much they cared and were attempting to make the separation as painless as possible.

It was going to be hard...and it was going to hurt...But that was life. If he had actually gone through with his plan to escape, he would no longer have the things he needed, the things he loved. He would miss his mother and his little brother, but at least this way they were only a phone call or a car ride away.

Matt's blue eyes surveyed the street outside and he found himself getting up to go to the balcony just outside his apartment. Takeru stood out there, looking over the edge at the bridge below.

"Hey little guy, whatcha looking at?" Yamato wondered.

"I dunno, Oniisan," Was the answer, "I thought I saw somethin'. A big green thingy..."

"They call them trees, kiddo," Matt said laughing, "It's late, you should get some sleep."

"Jus' one more minute, Matt? Please?"

"Okay, I'll be inside." Matt replied, turning back to the glass doors that led back into the home, but suddenly the tiny hand of his brother shot out to catch his arm. The taller boy looked back into this sibling's huge eyes.

"Stay out here with me?"

Far be it for Matt to say no to T.K. He never could, so why would he start now? "Fine...but I don't..." A pause as his eyes caught sight of the Heighton View Bridge, "Oh my God..."

Yamato's blue eyes widened at the sight of what was beginning to take place below them. What looked like a giant green parrot was ransacking the Heighton View Terrace bridge as an equally large dinosaur-like monster fought back. Tails, wings and fire balls flew everywhere, lighting up the night and shattering the cement bridge as if it were made out of paper.

Beside him, T.K squeezed his hand, "I told you I saw something! It's monsters, Matt!!"

Matt didn't answer, maybe he wasn't able to. How could this be real? His gaze was quickly drawn to tiny figures down within the chaos. Yamato was too far up to see what the two people looked like, but by their size he could tell they were children, just like him and Takeru.

The bird monster swerved suddenly, heading straight at the two children. Matt's breath caught. It was going to crush them!! He pushed down the urge to call out a warning, but the orange creature fell to it's knees, using it's own body to protect the two kids from the attack.

"Oniichan? What are they?" Takeru whispered, amazed.

"I don't know, T.K."

Light abruptly cut off any reply from the other Ishida. A soft light that surrounded them both and filled the sky below them around the two huge beasts. Confused, Yamato's head spun left and right, looking for the source of the mysterious glow. In the process he spotted other children, just like him, watching the entire thing from other balconies nearby. Even the two kids on the bridge seemed to be shining with this other worldly light.

His thoughts suddenly found themselves dwelling on the young brown haired boy he had met the night before...

"My mom thinks I'm crazy...I see monsters...On the tv and outside my window..."

"Sometimes they're in my dreams...the monsters, I mean. They tell me they are going to kill me..."

"They're real! You believe me right?"

Were these the boy's monsters? So, the kid wasn't crazy. They were real. Everything he'd said was real...but how? How could he have known? How could he have seen them? It made no sense...

"Oniisan! What's happening?" The younger Ishida was gazing wildly at the light around him and Matt shook his own head in awe. He didn't understand. He just felt like this was right. This was the way it was supposed to be.

The pillars of light and the two battling monsters suddenly disappeared as quickly as they had come, leaving behind nothing but a broken bridge and a group of shocked children.

Yamato blinked. Real monsters...REAL monsters.

The future began today...

Light turned to darkness...Knowledge faded to ignorance...And then, there was no more.

~A dream?...No, it was a memory...A repressed memory. That's what Izzy had called them...It was real...He'd only forgotten.~

When Yamato Ishida's blue eyes opened in the DigiWorld once more, he found himself drawn immediately to look at the young boy sitting by the fire across from him...

Gentle brown eyes and wild hair...and goggles STILL too big for his head.

It couldn't be...

It couldn't have been...

... Could it?

It was *him*?

The face of the other raised up from the flames, the orange glow looking strange among the emotions in the boy's eyes. An out of control grin crossed the other young man's face, "What are you looking at Matt?"

"Nothing."

It WAS him. This boy he had spent months and months and months with in the Digital World had been the same boy on that bridge all those years ago. The one that had shown him his reason to live...the one that had infused him more hope in the future than anyone he'd ever met...It still wasn't the idealistic home and his family was far from perfection but he couldn't imagine what it would have been like if he had gotten on that train. He couldn't bear to think of things he would have lost. If he had left, he wouldn't be here in the Digital World with all his friends and Gabumon and Takeru. He would have lost this experience forever.

It seemed incredible...HIM? He was the one? After all this time, it was...

"Thank you Taichi."

Tai frowned, looking down at Agumon with confused eyes, "For what?"

Matt didn't answer, instead he rolled over to face away from the brown haired boy and smiled softly, "Thank you so much...and I'll return that bike of yours someday."

Yamato didn't see the look of shock that filled his friend's face or the tears that shone in the younger boy's eyes...but he did hear Tai's tiny whisper over the crackle of the flames...

"Anytime, Yamato."

Mask to mask. Fear to fear.

Broken faith, unseen tears.

Darkness falling.

Heaven's calling.

But I see you here,

Always near.

I'm not alone.

Time Flies

And then-no need to endure anymore...

Time Dies