Author's Notes: Hey look, it's my first Digimon posting. Mind you I'm lost in the whole plotline of Tamers so I'm sticking with what I know best. Besides, I like the characters more in 01 and 02. And this story is Taito, which I find is really a good coupling cause personality wise they really fit. So there's your shounen-ai alert. I've manipulated the 02 Kaiser plotline a little to fit my plot, but I'll explain more when it actually gets to that part. That and since the names are mostly so interchangeable, I go from the Japanese to the dubbed continually, except last names which are Japanese. I do this consciously so don't complain to me about that because I feel comfortable doing it. And please review and tell me how the story sounds? It'll make me feel ever so less inferior.
Disclaimer: Oooh, lookie another show I don't own. I don't own Digimon, Toei Animation does, and to a lesser extend, Saban. Cruel heartless fiends!Reoccurrence
Chapter 1: Disappearance
"You know what Yagami? You're the biggest asshole I've ever met."
Taichi fumed, fists clenched so tight he thought his knuckles would split open. "Oh, that's rich, coming from you Yamato, the self-proclaimed bastard of the group."
Matt stood equally tensed, ready for the inevitable fight. "At least I don't pretend to know everything, pretend to know how to lead and then get us lost or attacked or worse. Look what you did to Kari!"
Tai whirled back a punch, fury building behind his eyes. But he spied Kari's prostrate figure over Matt's shoulder and dropped his fist. Matt was right. The thought wasn't welcome but it couldn't be denied. It was all Tai's fault; he was the one who convinced the group to explore the crumbling city. He was the one that dragged everyone down the streets. He was the one who put his own curiosity above everyone's safety and he was the one who didn't protect Kari when the stone fell from a slanting roof above. And now…she was unconscious. He let his gaze fall, shoulders slumping uncharacteristically, bathing in the guilt that seemed to seep from his skin. "You're right." It was a soft admission, inaudible to the group except Matt.
Matt's own defensive posture sagged when he realized there wasn't going to be a fight. He didn't feel exactly sorry for his words. He believed them; Kari's injury was Tai's fault and he just wouldn't face it. Matt just wanted it to get into Tai's thick head that he couldn't just follow whims when he felt like it; it was dangerous for everyone. He opened his mouth to speak but found Tai's back already turned, walking away from the group. Matt sighed. "Tai…I didn't…Tai come back." But the leader stalked off into the wood. Matt felt the anger boil up again. And they called him the moody one? He shouted after the other boy's disappearing figure, overcome by the irritation and frustration of the situation. "Fine! Run away, run away from all your problems!"
Jyou moved to get up and go after Tai, but arrested, Sora's hand pulling him back. "I think Tai just needs some time alone."
He nodded, settling back into the half circle of spectators around Matt. "Yeah, I guess."
But someone did go after Taichi, the only someone that would dare to. Agumon ran after his partner, his form lost as he disappeared into the thicket.
Yamato's face closed itself into a blank stare; he let his emotions sap away, and turned away to escape everyone else's sideways glances. He wouldn't let anyone know what he was feeling and marched off in the opposite direction.
Tai trudged through the dense understory, vines and grasses entangling around his legs. Angry? Sad? He didn't know which he was feeling, somewhere in between? Matt was right; he was dead on. Tai didn't know what he was doing, trying to be something he wasn't. Looking for the way out of this world by blindly groping around in the dark as if that light switch would magically turn on. But it was dim, the chances of ever getting away from the vicious cycle of fighting and fear and gradually losing hope dissipating. He promised himself he'd never cry, never show weakness and be the leader everyone was looking for. But now he feared he'd failed, utterly, and in the worst possible way. Kari… He took a quiet glance behind him, half fearing to see her pale face with her closed eyes and dreamless sleep. Instead, he spotted Agumon's familiar silhouette shuffle closer. "Agumon?"
The dinosaur digimon tramped hurriedly to Tai's side, extending a claw. "Are you okay Tai?"
A small sad smile. "I really don't know; it's hard to tell."
"If this about Yamato…"
Tai shook his head mournfully, feeling the wash of self-pity edge up from his feet. "It's not about him, not really." Matt was an issue entirely different, something out of a strange and sordid masochistic streak in Taichi, to try to get close to someone that didn't want him to. Just the want to know Matt and never stop trying no matter how many bruises ensued. But it wasn't about Yamato that Tai was brooding over. He kicked the weeds, digital dandelions scattering in his wake. A slow pace through the forest. Companionable silence. Tai looked up toward the abrupt end of the forest, the divide from soil to rocks. "Would you look at that?"
Agumon turned his head up, seeing but not believing. "It's huge." Through the dangling vines, splayed a vast basin, the rushing water suicide down the steep slopes. Down, down, down. To the frightening depths of the fogged horizon where the pounding waterfall met the churning river, gurgling and rumbling with ferocity. They were standing on a ledge, rocky, coarse, gently sliding toward the precipice, to freefall into the engulfing waves. "Tai?" Agumon raised his voice above the low rumbling water. "Tai?"
Taichi took his eyes from the natural wonder to glance at his partner. "Hmm?"
"You want to go back?"
A moment's thought, straining between freedom and duty. Kari was back at camp; everyone else was back at camp. They needed him, even if he had no clue what he was doing. He was calm enough; it was time to stop being a baby anyway. "Let's go." He turned to face away from the waterfall, but suddenly off balance as the rocks under his feet shifted, treading on gravel sand. Groaning under pressure, the ground moved quicker, more violently. With a resounding crash, the ledge crumbled, plunging Tai and Agumon into the abyss. The screeching of digivolution lost itself in the growing deafening roar of water, slabs of rock diving into the stone shore and tumultuous waters.
Plummeting, Greymon slammed into the rock beach, hard, immediately reverting back to his training form, broken, unconscious on his side, the waters licking his feet. Taichi was nowhere to be seen.
The moon lipped from the ground, ball of white dust and gray seas. Matt sighed heavily, willing the images of Tai to go from his mind. Tai wasn't a bad person; he was just too headstrong and reckless. And he was irrational and too friendly for comfort. Yamato sighed again. Then why was he thinking of him constantly? His feelings weren't something that shocked him senseless, leaving him sprawled on the floor. Tai was a boy. End of story. That wasn't the problem. What was a problem was that it was Tai. Tai, the slightly dense, careless, loyal, stubborn leader of the group. It was inevitable that calm, collected Yamato would hate him. And it was also inevitable that cold, guarded Yamato would love him but would probably never even get to the stage of friendship.
Yamato looked slightly mournful at the half sphere rising. It was time to go back to camp and apologize, at least apologize as best he could. Taichi would probably smile that stupid smile, saying it was all misunderstanding. Then Matt would end up staring at the fire for the rest of the night replying to Gabumon's questions with monosyllables. Routine, how Matt loved routine. He trudged back to camp, tracing the flickering fire from yards away. The group hadn't moved from morning, half tending to Kari's sleeping body off to the side, half warming themselves around the fire. A twig snapped under Yamato's feet as he neared; three heads looked up.
"Tai?" Sora's voice floated anxiously from the camp. Matt scowled. They probably didn't even know he'd disappeared somewhere.
"No. It's me."
"Oh. Have you seen Tai?"
"Why ask me? I wasn't here. You guys should know."
"Us?" She sounded genuinely confused. "How would we know? He never came back to camp. We thought he went to find you."
Matt blinked, an image of a flower wilting in his mind's eye. But everything was as it was. "No, he didn't come find me."
Silence except for the crackling of the burning logs. Koushiro finally spoke up, leaving the question hanging limply. "Where is he then?"
No one knew. "Tai's not in trouble is he?"
Matt turned to Takeru, his small little person staring up. He didn't know what to say. "I don't know, but I'm sure he's fine. He's Tai; he can take care of himself."
Everyone seemed to grasp at Yamato's logic, nodding quickly, restarting hushed conversations and half finished jobs. But in everyone's mind, there was that lingering doubt even if no one spoke it.
Matt flinched as someone shook him, the dew of sleeping thick around his eyes. "Let me sleep…"
"Matt?" Gabumon's voice held a trace of apprehension as the blonde refused to stir. "We have a problem."
Finally with a whimper of early rising, Matt sat up to blink owlishly at the row of faces peering at him, all with the creases of worry wrinkling along their faces. "What? What's wrong?" For a split second, he panicked that TK had been injured but shrugged off the fear as his little brother's face clarified in the periphery of his vision.
Mimi's voice was quivering in her typical fashion, but was saturated by a hint of something more like fear than her normal whines. "It's Tai; he and Agumon didn't come back last night."
Matt would've worried for Tai if he ever thought for a moment that there could be something wrong. As it was, he brushed off the worry. "I'll bet he got lost or something."
"But…" Jyou started. "This isn't like him."
Matt rubbed his eyes, testing his sleep filled limbs. "Fine; we'll go searching for him."
"We could track him through his digivice." Koushiro was packing up his laptop, clicking it shut with finality. "But someone has to stay here to take care of Kari."
"I'll do it!" Mimi raised an arm with alacrity. "Besides, I'm too tired to walk."
Everyone thought it best to stay quiet and not remind her it was barely morning. The remaining five members trouped off into the forest, listening to the beeping of their digivices and watching the small screen blip five coloured dots.
"I've got something!" TK turned excitedly to yell into the forest. Everyone else immediately gathered around the small boy who held up his digivice triumphantly, showing the new orange dot at the edge of the screen.
"Great job TK," Jyou congratulated. All five started to pick through the fallen trees and leaf litter toward Tai's digivice.
"Wow." Sora stared wide-eyed at the enormous waterfall spanning miles into the rising steam. It dropped on forever like it would never stop.
"Yeah." TK took a step forward, suddenly giving a yelp of surprise as his foot slipped.
"TK!" Matt grabbed him, lifting him back to safety, as the ledge his brother stood on crumbled and fell. It was then that he realized with mounting horror that the cliff they were standing on wasn't originally one, that the original one had fallen apart sometime recently. He took a quick look at his digivice, swallowing with difficulty as the orange blip blinked from right under them.
"Oh god." Everyone turned to him, curious.
"What's the problem Matt?" Koushiro didn't understand why Matt was suddenly so stiff and blank faced, squeezing his digivice. He looked at his own digivice, for a moment watching the six dots, immediately making the connection. "Kami-sama…" He took off into the trees hoping to find a path down the monstrously high crag they were on.
Sora felt her palms shake, not knowing what exactly was wrong with Yamato and Koushiro but knowing it wasn't good. She bounded after Koushiro, unheeding Jyou's calls to be careful.
Pale faced, Matt turned his head down to TK pulling his hand. The little boy was urgently trying to get him to move. "Come on Onii-chan; everyone's left us."
But Matt was still, the pit of his stomach dropping to the bottom of the basin. Softly, under his breath. "Tai…" He took TK into his arms, dashing after the other digidestined.
After what seemed an impossible amount of time, the five digidestined found themselves at the rocky shores of the river. Towering skyward was the sputtering waterfall, the noise terrible, sloshing around them. Panic swept through Matt and Izzy, craning their necks to spot a blue shirt, a shock of brown hair, goggles, anything. Nothing.
"Guys!" Sora's voice shook over the raging water. Izzy, Jyou and TK gathered around her and immediately started helping to remove the rocks, baring legs, paws, face. Agumon. "It's Agumon." They dragged the unconscious digimon from his rock bed, looking in horror at the crushed body. "He's alive, just barely."
Matt was twisting himself uncomfortably along the boulders and rocks, tracing the orange dot, his friends' shouts coming from just behind him. He was so close, so very close. The orange dot blinked faster; he was getting closer to Tai. A steady light shone on his digivice, but there was no Tai. A sudden urge to slam the device into the ground, until Matt's eyes caught the squarish digivice laying a foot in front of him, being threatened to be washed away with the rising water. He snatched it up; it was Tai's. No IS Tai's. The rest of the group approached uncertainly, breath catching in their throats as they carried Agumon gingerly.
"Is that…?" Jyou's voice came from behind Matt.
He responded flatly. "Tai's." Without warning Sora burst into loud sobbing, frightening TK into a fit of his own. Jyou and Izzy sniffed loudly as they allowed themselves to mourn. Matt twisted around angrily, screaming in a voice that wasn't entirely his own. "What the hell's wrong with you all? We should be searching for him, not crying like babies."
Koushiro looked up from his blurred vision. "But Yamato…"
"But nothing!" Turning, Matt ran off down the river, the bobbing landscape blissfully filling his head with physical pain, anything but the horrific truth.
Lapping waves awoke Taichi from his sleep, the rhythm of the waves' retreat and attack lifting and dropping him, bobbing. His fingers curled around sand as he struggled to get up onto his knees. He sunk halfway before his clouded mind realized he was still partly in the water. Scrabbling onto the beach, he blinked, groaning in pain as all of his joints rebelled against any form of movement. His head pounded, a film of red descending over his eyes. Slumping against the sand, he passed out again.
Waking up was not something Taichi wanted to do, but the chill of the air brought him from the oblivion of sleep. He was on a beach; nothing was familiar. In fact, looking down at his hands and tracing his face, he, himself wasn't familiar either. Looking up at the high moon, he squinted hard in memory but only got a blank, an impassable veil over what should've been second nature. His name, age, anything. Gone. Where was he? He was alone? Nothing stirred on the beach except for the regular squelching tides. The feeling of panic rose high in his throat, the gasping sobs willing to be let out, but deep down, he knew he shouldn't be crying. He had to be strong for some reason he couldn't remember. Instead, he pulled his legs to his chin, rocking and trembling, unsure of anything, utterly lost. Compromising with himself, he let a low whimper escape his lips.
Author's Notes: Eh, not horrible is it? Different points of view in the later chapters. Well that's it. Thanks for taking the time to read this. =)