"What did you think you
were doing, nosing into my personal buisness?" Yamato rounded on
his old friend, practically a stranger now after five years without contact.
"Now I have to go in for those damn shots. Why the hell'd you have
to catch that dog and tell people I'd been bit?"
shrank back against the wall. "I was worried," he whispered. Yamato
was blocking the way to his door, and the expression on Tai's face seemed
to indicate he wanted desperately to dissappear behind that door.
"You were worried," Yamato's
anger stopped him from seeing the changes in Tai. "After five years
of ignoring us all you were worried. The rest of us stayed in contact,
even Hikari. But you, you just vanished!"
"Kari," Tai breathed, a
single tear rolling down his cheek. Matt took a step towards him
then and he turned and fled the building.
Matt stared at where he'd
stood, "What the?" Without a target his anger quickly cooled and
he finally registered facts he'd missed through surprise the day before
and rage moments earlier. "Izzy's taller than him now. What
happened to his hair?" His eyes narrowed, "And why did he run like
a scared rabbit?" He walked across the street to the apartment building
where he and his dad now lived. He paused momentarily at the door,
"And why did he cry when I mentioned Hikari? And, come to think of
it, why won't she ever talk about Tai when we ask?"
A beep from his computer
drew his attention. He walked over and keyed it to answer the call.
"Yeah?" he asked without looking to see the caller.
"Hey, Matt, what's this
I hear about someone else catching a dog that bit you?" Sora's voice was
as _____ as it had ever been. Her image looked surprised as he turned
towards the screen and camera. "Hey, what's wrong? You almost
look like you've seen a ghost."
Matt shook his head, "It
almost feels like that. How'd you know I'd been bit?"
"Oh, a friend of mine works
at the clinic you went to. Now spill, something's really bugging
He sighed and sat down,
"It wasn't just 'someone' who caught the dog, it was Tai."
Sora gaped at him from the
screen, "No way! Oh, just a sec, Izzy called, let me put him in."
Izzy's face popped up in
a window beside Sora's, "Ah, I see you are home now, Yamato-san.
I have been attempting to uncover the truth behind this dog rumor.
It is most unlike you to allow someone else to deal with your problems."
a minute, let me put TK in too, and why dont you two see if you can get
Jyou and Mimi so I don't have to explain a million times." Matt sighed
at the increasing confusion.
Three more windows opened
on his screen and he shuffled them around so they were all clear.
TK chimed in quickly, "How'd you get bit, aniki?"
Mimi appeared to scan her
screen, "If we're having a Digidestined discussion, shouldn't we include
"I don't think so," Matt
shook his head at the camera, "She's been very shut off on the topic."
"Besides," TK added, "she's
at dance class right now." His gaze shifted, probably to Matt's window,
"So, what is the deal with the dog, aniki?"
"Sheer bad luck was behind
the bite. But on person saw it happen and decided the dog needed
to be turned in," he paused a moment, "Taichi."
Four faces gaped at him
from the screen. "Are you sure it was Taichi-san?" Izzy asked.
"I, um, spoke with him a
little while ago," Matt responded carefully.
"Translation," Sora laughed,
"you went to see him while you were mad at the doctors and the two of you
got into a fight." Mimi tittered.
Jyou shook his head sadly,
"Not again, Matt?"
He sighed, I wish we'd fought,
it would have been better than..." There was a moment of silence.
"Matt, if you don't spill,
I'm gonna be over there to wring it out of you."
"And I'll come help her,
"Sora, TK, please, no violence,"
Jyou waved his hands a little frantically.
"Don't worry, Jyou," Mimi
smiled beatifically, "I'm sure Matt's about to continue. If everybody
else will stay quiet!"
Matt turned a little away
from the screen, "I shouted, he, well, um, he cowered. He didn't
speak above a whisper. And when I mentioned Hikari, he started to
cry and fled." He brushed a hand through his hair, "I wish he'd argued.
It was just so wrong to see him so scared, and of me."
From cowered on the other
five had been gaping at him, and for a moment after he finished noone spoke.
Finally Mimi pulled together, "I think we need to talk to him, at least
a little. We all want to know something of why he disappeared, and
it sounds like something's desperately wrong, myabe we can help.
Matt, can you see his building from your place? Then I'm going to
be spending a lot of my spare time over there. Jyou, Sora, could
you try to do the same? No offense, but your social skills are still
pretty poor, Izzy. And you're in the wrong age-group, TK, especially
if there's trouble with Hikari."
"We bow to your superior
wisdom, madam psychologist," Izzy responded, bowing slightly to the camera.
"Not yet, Izzy-kun, I still
have a few more years of school left to go."
Matt interrupted, "And how
do I explain you guys to my dad?"
"If he notices, we're a
study group," Sora stated. "Please, Mimi, I need help."
"You know, that doesn't
sound bad," Matt almost smiled, "history master."
Mimi put her face in her
hands, "Oh dear. At least Jyou's doing okay."
He cocked his head, "Well,
"I retract my earlier statement."
Mimi threw her hands up, "Please, Izzy, I need your support."
"I can't help Matt."
Sora peered out the window,
"Are you sure that's his apartment, Matt? We've been watching for
a week now."
"Yes, I'm sure." Matt
glared at her, "Why are you so restless?"
Jyou leaned back against
the couch, "She's worried about Tai but she's busy for the next couple
days with soccer and her new boyfriend."
Sora glared at Matt as he
started to laugh, "You've been hanging around Izzy too much, Jyou.
And speaking of soccer, I need to get to practice."
"Mimi told me," Jyou muttered
as she left.
"Jyou, they're girls," Matt
shook his head, "they don't make sense."
"Okay, well, how are you
doing with that?"
"I'm lost somewhere in the
Tokugawa Period. Mimi left me several questions and I can't find
the answers to any of them."
"That's okay, I'm stumbling
around Vector Calculus, and Izzy's the only one who can help me with that."
For a little while there
was quiet as the two attempted to wade through their respective texts.
Then, "Matt, may I have something to drink?"
Matt gestured vaguely, "Help
yourself, I'm getting tired of cooking for freeloaders."
"It's the direct result
of you being the best cook of the group," Jyou responded as he headed for
The doorbell rang.
"Sora's right, you are starting to sound like Izzy." Matt called
as he went to the door. Outside a dirty figure sagged against the
His head rose slightly and
one eye peered up at him wearily. "Matt, gomen-nasai," Tai gasped
Matt barely caught him,
"Tai? Tai!" He turned Tai around to look at him, there were
plenty of other bruises to go with the black eye, and what looked like
blood drying in places in his clothes and hair. "Jyou, get in here
now!" he yelled, rather panicked.
Jyou rushed in, "Lay him
on the couch. Now, move!" He had to shout to get Matt to respond,
then had to shove him out of the way once he'd obeyed. "He's breathing
and his pulse is strong. Stay here and watch him while I call an
ambulance." Matt nodded numbly as Jyou returned to the kitchen to
get the phone.
He reached out and grasped
Tai's hand, "C'mon, you're okay, right? This is a joke, right?
Please? Argue with me damn it!"
Tai stirred slightly an
dblinked his good eye open. "Matt? Matt, gomen," he breathed
"Stop apologizing, you baka,
you've got nothing to apologize for."
"Suki da yo," Tai's voice
was barely audible as his eye slipped shut and he apparently passed out
Matt sat back in shock,
"Suki da... Was that your secret, Tai? Was that what you wanted
to tell me that day you begged me to meet you after school and I blew you
off? That was the last time any of us saw you Tai. Was that
why? You couldn't stand to be around us any more after the way I
treated you?" He reached up and pushed the matted hair from Tai's
face, "You were so worried that day. Maybe I'm the one that should
be saying sorry."
"Matt-san," Jyou had come
up behind him silently, "the ambulance will be here in a moment."
He put a hand on Matt's shoulder, "I'm sure he'll be okay, physically at
least. And then the two of you can have a talk that's long overdue.
And if he was just upset about you, I don't think he would have broken
Matt nodded and continued
to stare at Tai in silence.
He sat restlessly in the
waiting room. Jyou had finished contacting the others and was now
talking with one of the doctors. Matt shifted in his seat again,
earning a glare from a lady across the room as it squeaked badly.
"Matt," he looked up at
Mimi's face when she touched him lightly on the shoulder. "It might
help to do something instead of just sitting. And I've told Jyou
where I'm dragging you off to, so he can let us know if the doctors say
anything." With that she grabbed his hand and tugged him down a hall.
"He... he said... he loves
me," Matt stammered as they entered an empty elevator.
"Still?" Mimi asked as she
punched a button. "I'm impressed, that is long term devotion."
"What?" he stared at her
"Oh, I saw it when we were
in the digiworld originally," Mimi said, matter of factly. "I pointed
it out to Sora, and she thought it was so cute, and laughed at herself
for developing a crush on Tai. That is after she finished screaming
about it." She laughed as the doors opened, "I think you, Kari and
maybe T.K. were the only ones who didn't see it." She led the way
down the hall, stopping at a door and turning to him, "So, will you acknowledge
your feelings?" Mimi turned away, slipping something into his hand
as she opened the door.
Matt looked down, "My harmonica?"
He looked up and became even more confused, "What?"
A dozen or more silent children
sat or lay in beds in the largish room, the beep of monitors and a soft
crying the only initial sound. Then one boy, of maybe five or six,
looked towards the door and his face lit up as he called out, "Mimi-san!"
Other children looked over at his cry and soon the room was filled with
bright calls of, "Mimi-san! Mimi-san!"
Mimi waved her hands and
they quieted down, though not to the oppressive silence of earlier.