Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
A/N: This is a warning to you all. This series will be dark and kind of OOC (out of character).
Sometimes it hurts to think. Not sometimes, a lot of times. Mostly at night. With her eyes closed, her mind played memories like movies and all she could do was watch. Then she'd wake up to Tera shaking her and telling her that she was having a nightmare. It was the same every night.
"You okay?" She asked her sleepy eyed best friend. She nodded and Tera gave her a drained smile. Taylor gave Tera a small shove to get her out of her bed. "I'm guessing you want me to go to bed." Taylor nodded. "I'm going." She hugged her before climbing off the bottom bunk and up the ladder into her own bed. "Get some sleep Taylor."
Taylor lay awake, staring up at the bottom of Tera's bunk. It was a few minutes before Tera's light breathing added to the other two girls'. Tera was asleep. Taylor listened harder, trying to match the speed and sound. As dorky as it sounded, this was her sense of security. Knowing Tera was there made things better. Made the dark less scary and the room with all the people seem safer. Not that it was very dark right now. It was 7:21, so the sun was working its way into the sky.
She pushed herself out of bed and the floor gave an involuntary whine as she pressed down with her full weight. She froze, hoping the sound hadn't woken up her friends. No one stirred. With a sigh of relief, she padded out of the room and into the hall. The boy's door stood open a few inches. Tai's snoring echoed into the hall and she resisted the urge to giggle as she bounded down the stairs.
Light shone from under the dining room door and she pushed into the room. The room was empty except for a bowl of cereal and a newspaper that sat untouched at one end of the table. The door to the kitchen opened and Gennai walked in clutching a glass of milk. He looked up at her in surprise. "Morning Taylor," he greeted with a warm smile. "Couldn't sleep again?" She shook her head. 'Well, that's okay. You can sleep this afternoon." She gave him a nod and sat down at the table with him. "By the way, Happy Thanksgiving." She smiled in response. "In about half an hour I'm going out. I'm going to go pick up the turkey. Don't want to make last year's mistake of trying to make it myself."
She giggled. "Okay, I'll let the others knew when they get up," she replied quietly.
"Good girl," he replied before he finished off his cereal. He stood up. "Well, you never know. I may be back by the time any of them get out of bed." He disappeared into the kitchen to put away his bowl and then walked back out. "When Matt gets up, ask him if he'll make some bread for tonight."
'Matt can cook?' She thought.
"Yes, Matt can cook," he explained, answering her unspoken question. "Much to anyone's surprise he's quite good at it." He made his way into the foyer and she followed. "I'll be back in a bit. Lock the door behind me." He pulled on his jacket and exited the house.
After getting dressed, she settled into the couch in the living room and turned the TV on. The Thanksgiving parade was on. She set the remote down and watched as the camera panned off of Clifford the Big Red Dog to Tommy and Chuckie from the Rugrats. She had to admit, watching the parade was a lot more fun when she was younger.
"Daddy, take me to the parade."
"Daddy's busy right now."
"Daddy said no!"
Or maybe she didn't enjoy it more. She switched off the television and breathed a small sigh. Why was the inside of her head such a hell?
"Hey Taylor." She looked up and saw Eli in the doorway. She waved to him. "You're up early." She nodded. He waited for her to say something, but it never came. "Uh, okay then. Where's Gennai?"
"He went to pick up Thanksgiving turkey," she forced out. Despite living with Eli she still wasn't that comfortable talking to him.
He had to strain to hear her. "Turkey? Oh, okay. Are you hungry?" She nodded. "How 'bout pancakes?" Another nod, a little more eager this time. "Good idea. Come on, you can help." He turned and wheeled himself into the dining room. She followed obediently.
"So how are you enjoying your first Thanksgiving?" Aaron asked to his Japanese counterparts.
"Hell, I like any holiday where you can stuff your face," Tai laughed as he took a sip of his milk.
"Amen to that," TK shouted, laughing. Matt glanced over at his brother. TK was such a dope, although it was nice to have him back from the hospital.
"Your bread was really good Matt," Natalie smiled. "Where'd you learn to bake?"
"From my father."
"Oh, was he a chef?"
"No, he was never home. He encouraged me to fend for myself." Natalie laughed. 'Huh,' Matt thought. 'I didn't think it was funny.'
"So, is this all Thanksgiving's about?" Kari asked. "Stuffing your face."
"Uh, no," Eli replied. "It's about giving thanks."
"Hence the name," Tera added.
"Although most Americans have degraded it to be about stuffing your face with turkey and pumpkin pie while attending the dreaded family gathering," Aaron laughed. "And then getting drunk off their asses."
"Yeah, that's pretty much it," Natalie confirmed.
"Wow, Americans are weird," Kari giggled with a shake of her head.
"Mmmm, pumpkin pie," her brother murmured from beside her.
Gennai stood up. "I'll go get it." The doorbell rang. "Or maybe I'll go get the door." He turned and walked out of the dining room as the ten teens went back to eating.
"Do you miss your families during holidays like this?" Sora asked.
Aaron wiped his mouth with his sleeve before he replied, "Yeah, but that's why I go back at Christmas. We had huge family gatherings over the holidays. We all went to my abuelita's house and we'd eat, I'd get beat up by my cousins while my uncles got drunk off their asses during the football game, it was great!"
"Aaron, you're an idiot," Tera laughed.
"What about you Tera?" Tai asked.
"I guess I miss my dad," she shrugged.
"I don't know who she is," Tera answered casually. "So I guess not."
"Oh," Tai replied, embarrassed for asking.
"I don't," Natalie announced. "I'm glad to be away from my family."
"I miss mine, my real dad and mom," Eli added.
"Aw, come on, E. You liked my dad," Tera argued.
"What about you Taylor?" Matt asked. "Do you miss your family?"
She was about to answer when Gennai walked in, looking sorrowful. "Taylor, can you come out here. There's someone here to see you."
"Someone's here to see her?" Aaron asked. "Who'd come over on Thanksgiving?"
Taylor stood up, dropping her napkin beside her plate and walked out of the dining room with Gennai behind her. "He's in the living room, Taylor."
'He's?' She thought. She stepped into the living room and saw the back of a tall, buff man dressed in a dark blue business suit. He stood with his back to her, studying the pictures on the mantel. She froze in the doorway as she studied the salt and pepper haired man. Gennai came up behind her, taking her by the shoulders and pushed her into the room.
The man turned around, his pale lavender eyes hard and a superior smirk playing on his face. "Hello Taylor," he greeted, arrogance in his voice.
She pressed up as close as she could to Gennai, eating in the comfort he gave. He kept his hands planted firmly on her shoulders.
"Taylor, no hello? No hug?" The man asked.
"Mr. McCarlen, why don't you just explain to me and Taylor why you're here?" Gennai asked.
"Because she's my daughter! Do I need a reason to come to see her?" The man exploded angrily.
"Sir, maybe I can refresh your memory, but you have not come to visit your 'daughter' in the entire three years she's been in my care. Three years!" Gennai replied angrily. His hands on Taylor's shoulders tensed. Taylor didn't even notice. She just stared at the man's hands, his enormous hands.
"Well, I'm here now and I'm here to take her back to New York," he replied calmly.
The outburst caught both Taylor and Gennai by surprise. "You're what?" Gennai asked not quite sure he heard right.
"I'm here to take Taylor home to New York with me," he repeated playing with the golden ring on his finger.
"Taylor." She looked up at Gennai and he felt the tremors that started to run through her body. "Go back to the dinning room with the others. Your father and I are going to talk." He let her go and she unsteadily walked into the dinning room. "Let's step into my office, Mr. McCarlen."
Taylor pushed into the dining room. Ignoring the twenty questioning eyes that watched her, she kept her head down and took her seat at the table. "Who was at the door?" Tera asked softly once everyone else had returned to their conversations. Taylor shook her head and began to pick at her food. "Taylor, what's wrong? You're shaking." Again Taylor stubbornly shook her head and picked up her glass. The milk inside sloshed around as her hand shook violently and she dropped it, spilling milk all over her jeans, Tera and the floor.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, as she grabbed a napkin and began to clean the floor. "It's my fault. I'm sorry Tera, I'm sorry," she began to sob.
"I'm guessing this isn't over the milk," Tera whispered as she set a hand on Taylor's shoulder. Taylor jerked away.
"What's going on?" Matt asked from his seat on the other side of Taylor. "Is Taylor okay?"
"I don't think so," Tera replied with a shake of her head. "Do you think you can get her upstairs?"
"Yeah, no problem." He got out of his chair and wrapped his arms around Taylor. At his touch her shaking increased. He picked her up and Tera held the door for him. In her peripheral vision, she saw her brother glare at Matt and her jaw clenched as she felt her blood boil. Eli was an uptight jerk sometimes.
Matt started up the stairs, but Tera lagged behind, watching from the foot of the stairs as the door to Gennai's study opened. A tall muscular man emerged from behind the door. The salt and peppered haired man looked at Tera with stern lavender eyes. The stare sent a shiver down Tera's back and the words 'child molester' popped into her mind. The man smirked, causing Tera to feel even uneasier under his hounding eyes. Gennai walked out causing the man to look away and Tera bounded up the stairs.
Matt had laid Taylor on the bed, still sobbing and shaking. He got up to his feet when Tera stepped into the room, fear in his cornfield blue eyes. "I can't get her to calm down."
Tera ignored him and sat down on the bed. "Taylor," she kept her voice soft and low. "What's wrong? You're starting to scare me, kiddo." Taylor didn't respond; she just lay on her side, facing away from them, sobbing. "Taylor." Tera set a hand on the side of her face and Taylor jerked away.
"She did that when I set her down," Matt informed her.
'He's scared,' Tera thought. 'Maybe he really is human.' "That's weird, she hasn't done that in a while."
"She's done this before?"
The door opened and Gennai stepped inside. "Is everything okay?"
Tera jumped up. "No! Taylor's freaking!" She snapped, her hands clenched into fists. "Who the hell was at the door? What happened?"
Gennai pushed past both Tera and Matt and sat on the edge of Taylor's bed. He waved a hand over her. "Sleep," he whispered.
"I hate when you do that," Tera complained under her breath.
"Does this happen often?" Matt asked, his voice locked between shock and annoyance.
"Not so much recently. It's been a year, maybe," Tera replied. She had her arms crossed as she watched, unblinking, as Taylor slept. "Gennai, what happened?"
"The man you saw downstairs was Taylor's father. He's here from New York."
"Why?!" Tera yelled.
"Her mother died last week. It was a car accident and a drunk driver hit her head on. He wanted to tell her about it in person." Gennai rubbed his forehead and his ear length brown and gray hair fell into his eyes.
"Gennai, what aren't you telling me?!" Tera cried practically in tears.
"He- he wants to take Taylor back to New York with him."
The color from Tera's face seeped out and a small gasp escaped her. "He- he can't do that? Right? Right, Gennai? He can't take her away, not after what he did! Right? You won't let him, will you?" Matt could hear her voice trembling as well, as her clenched fists did the same.
"I won't let her go with out a fight, Tera. But her father is a very powerful man. I'll fight him, but I can't promise anything." He hugged her. "I'm sorry Tera."
She pulled away suddenly and swallowed hard. "I understand. I'm going to stay here and wait for Taylor to wake up."
"If you want to," Gennai permitted. He looked over at Matt who had hung back unnoticed.
"I'm going to wait too." He turned to Tera. "If it's okay with you." Tera shrugged.
"Alright," Gennai sighed. "Call if you need anything." He turned and walked out.
Tera pulled a brown wood chair from the desk. "Here Matt," she offered, before pulling a blue beanbag chair from the corner of the room and collapsing into it.
"Thanks," he replied, sitting down in it backwards. Silence set over the room and he ran a hand through his blonde hair before looking over at Tera. She was still staring at Taylor, her brown creased with worry. She played with the sleeves of her long sleeved shirt, pushing them up and down, a habit she seemed to do when she was nervous.
Tera felt Matt staring at her and she looked up at him. He looked away. "So?"
He looked up at her, blue eyes sparkling and blonde hair a mess. "Huh?"
"What's up Matt? Why aren't you downstairs stuffing your face like everyone else?" He shrugged. "Taylor will be alright." Even she didn't sound like she believed that.
"If you say so," he shrugged.
She choked out what sounded like a laugh. "You can't cover it up, you're dying to know what the hell is going on. I can see it on your face and in your voice. You're worried about her, as odd as that sounds to me. And it's not because you feel guilty about what happened at the football game."
"No, I'm not," he scoffed. "Wait, she told you about that?"
"Sorta, I had to drag it out of her. I kind of suspected something when she came home and her shirt was ripped and she had a cut that ran from the top of her shoulder to her shoulder blade. Don't worry, no one else knows you're a alcoholic pot head reject."
Matt frowned. "I'm not an alcoholic. And I never wanted to be a pot head." They settled back into silence. "Tera, have you ever heard Taylor sing?"
She looked up at him, an amused/doubtful smile on her face. "Taylor can sing?"
"You've never heard her sing?"
Tera shook her head. "No. It was hard enough to get her to talk in general. And its only to people she trusts. If you've noticed, she hasn't said a word to Tai, Sora, TK or Kari. And she rarely talks to Natalie and Eli."
"Does that mean she trusts me?"
"I have no idea what the deal is with you! I'd think she's avoid you the most considering you're mean, loud, unreliable-"
"I get the picture!" Matt interrupted, exasperated.
"So you've heard Taylor sing?"
"Once," Matt replied. "It was a month ago. She didn't know I was watching."
"Hmmmm….singing. That would figure."
"What would figure?"
"It fits with her crest."
"Oh, and that would be?"
"Harmony," he repeated. "Interesting crest for a girl who doesn't talk."
"Yeah. You share the thoughts of everyone else in the house. The thing is, her crest still hasn't glowed. It flickered when she first started to talk to me, but nothing other then that. She worries Gennai. He thinks she may be a lost cause."
"What would happen if she was?"
"I dunno. But I assume it isn't good. Probably damage the Digital World, or something else that won't matter to us. Why else would Gennai be here in this world working so hard to fix us? I doubt his motives are completely pure." Tera sounded suspicions. "But I'm more worried about Taylor then some world I'll never go to again. Sure, kids who are hurt like us grow up all the time, or they kill themselves before they do, but Taylor…I don't want her to grow up like that."
"Like how?" Matt didn't expect an answer; he had been shot down so many times before.
Tera played with the fuzz on the beanbag chair as she studied Matt with her eyes. She looked like she was deliberating whether to tell him or not. "Taylor was abused by his dad."
Matt's mouth dropped. "Abused? As in sexually?"
Tera tensed and her nails dug into the chair. "NO! God no! He smacked her around. Physical abuse. That's why she's hurt so bad."
"Oh." He breathed out hard. He knew what that was like. His dad did the same after the divorce before he sobered up. Needless to say, it was not a fun time.
Tera pushed herself to her feet. "I need to run to the bathroom. Watch Taylor for me, kay?" He nodded and she walked out of the room.
Matt sat in silence watching Taylor sleep. She twisted and turned in the bed, shaking. He sighed and covered his hands with his face.
Soft crying came from the bed and he glanced up at Taylor. He pushed himself out of his chair and sat down beside her on the pink-stripped comforter. He reached out and set a hand on her arm trying to steady her. She was freezing cold. "Taylor?" His voice squeaked out. He cleared his throat and set his other hand on her shoulder trying to stop her tossing and turning. "Taylor."
She fought harder and her soft whimpers turned into a choking sob. "No, don't," came her whispering voice. She sprang up; eyes shut tight, hands balled into fists. Her body shook violently and her teeth chattered until her tongue bled from getting caught. "Please," her voice cracked, her breathing fast and labored.
He caught her by the arms. "Taylor, it's-"
"Just don't hit me!" She screamed suddenly, covering her head with her arms.
The outburst caught Matt by such surprise that he jumped up, hitting his head on the top bunk and fell off the bed. "Ow," he groaned, climbing to his feet. When he was stable he froze, unsure what to do, watching Taylor rock back and forth, sobbing. He wrapped his arms around her, trying to get her to stop. She struggled, but he held firm, stroking her hair softly. "Taylor, calm down. It's just Matt." Her struggling didn't lessen, but she pressed her face closer into his shirt. "Calm down. If you keep crying like this you'll make yourself sick." She stopped struggling and lay limp in his arms, sobbing and choking. "It's okay, it'll be okay. Just breathe." She sucked in air in such a labored fashion he feared she would suffocate in his green shirt. "It'll be okay."
"No, it can't!" She spat; her voice was muffled and raw. "He'll hurt me again."
The door opened and Tera stepped in, rolling the sleeves of her shirt down. She froze in the doorway. Matt held a finger to his lips and she nodded once, closing the door quietly.
"He won't hurt you. No one will hurt you," he promised. He continued to stroke her hair and her arms encircled his waist.
Her sobbing subsided, but her shaking did not. He held her as tight as he could without hurting her, but it did nothing. For a few minutes the room was silent. Then, "Where's Tera?" Taylor asked back in her whispering voice. It was shaky and husky from crying.
"I'm right here, Taylor," Tera acknowledged. Up until now she had been leaning against the door, observing Matt and Taylor. Taylor pulled away from Matt, slowly, as if she really didn't want to let him go. He caught a glimpse of her pale lavender eyes and saw them to be red and puffy. Tera rushed up and took Taylor into her arms. "You're okay. It'll be alright." Taylor just nodded. "Come on, let's get you cleaned up." Again Taylor nodded and Tera shuffled her out of the room, leaving Matt alone on the bed.
Well, what did you all think? I cut the chapter short because it was becoming waaaaaayyyyy longer then I expected. Hope this satisifed you for a bit. Please review!
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