Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. And I don't own the song 'Wounded'. That's owned by Third Eye Blind.
A/N: This is a warning to you all. This series will be dark and kind of OOC (out of character). And I would like to acknowledge and thank Cherry_Seraphym for being my beta reader and looking over this chapter for me.
Matt paused in mid-stride and looked over his shoulder. Tera jogged up to him. "What's up?" He asked, nervously adjusting his grip on his guitar case handle. She had caught him leaving the house.
She looked at the case curiously, but ignored it with a shake of her head. "I just wanted to say thanks."
"Thanks?" He repeated puzzled. "For what?"
"For helping with Taylor," she clarified. "She's a mess, but you got her to calm down yesterday."
"It was no problem," he shrugged. "Where is she now?"
Tera pulled at the sleeves of her black long sleeved shirt. She was nervous again. "In with Gennai. Her dad's with them. They're gonna break the news to her about her mom."
"Well, thank you again." She threw her arms around him and kissed him on the cheek. He stiffly accepted the hug. With that, she pulled away and went back to sitting outside Gennai's office. He walked away holding his cheek.
"Taylor? Are you okay?" A hand rested on her shoulder, but she ignored it.
'Okay?!' she thought, wrapping her thin arms around herself. 'How can I be okay? Mama's dead! My mother is dead!' With a gasp, tears rolled down her cheeks and she covered her face with her hands. 'How could she go?'
Someone hugged her. It was Gennai, she could tell by the scent of his cologne. She buried her face in his shoulder and just let go, sobbing uncontrollably against him. Gennai just held her quietly.
"I'm sorry, Taylor," he whispered as he tried to console her.
"Taylor," her father called. It was a voice she didn't want to hear, not now. She knew he didn't care; he was impartial to feelings. He didn't care.
'Just make him go away. Just go away,' she thought.
"It's okay, Taylor. Just let it all out," Gennai coaxed softly.
"Mr. Harrison, can I please speak to Taylor alone?" Her father was becoming quite annoyed.
Taylor gripped the back of Gennai's shirt, praying he wouldn't let her go. 'Don't leave me alone with him.' Gennai pulled away. She pulled her knees to her chest and hid her face behind them. "I'll be right outside the door, Mr. McCarlen. Don't be too long." She listened as the door opened and flinched when it closed.
"Too long? Who is he to say how long I can see 'my' daughter," he griped.
'He talks about me like I'm a possession,' she thought miserably. 'Better than a punching bag.'
"Taylor. Taylor look at me," Mr. McCarlen ordered. His voice was low and sounded more like a growl when he talked to her. "Taylor, look at me when I talk to you." Shaking, she met her father's eyes. "I know this is hard news. Your mother wished you could have been there with her before she passed away." Before she could stop them, tears flooded her eyes and trailed down her face again.
"Stop crying! It's not going to help anyone or anything. So just quit it!"
Somehow, Taylor managed to do as her father ordered. She wiped her cheeks with her hand and sat quietly.
"That's better," he scowled. "Taylor, you're coming home with me to New York. I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. I want you at home. With Christmas around the corner and the house so empty, I just don't think I can handle it. I need you there, Taylor." His voice was surprisingly gentle. He reached out to touch her arm, but she jumped back, causing her chair to topple over. The noise caused her to jump again, knocking her elbow on Gennai's desk. Holding her arm, she clenched her teeth in pain. Her father chuckled. "Taylor, come here." Hesitant, she took a step in his direction. He reached out and pulled her over, wrapped one enormous hand around her thin wrist. "You can come with me peacefully or I will make you come home. So what's your decision? Will you come home?" He rubbed her elbow with his thumb gently as he spoke.
Before she could think, she nodded.
He smiled, a large toothy smile. It looked almost genuine. "Good. I'm glad it's settled. We're leaving this Saturday them." He stood up and patted her hair. She just stared up at him, scared of his threatening figure, wishing he'd stop touching her. "I'll see you then." He left without another word.
Taylor held her elbow as she stared at the door. Saturday was in three days.
"You're WHAT?" Tera yelled, flabbergasted. "You can't! Why would you---how could you---what the hell, Taylor?"
Taylor gaped at Tera, unsure how to respond. Tera never got mad at her; she had more patience than anyone else in the world, but now she was beyond angry. She began to pace back and forth, pushing her sleeves up and down out of habit. Taylor's lavender eyes stared at the faint scars that ran across Tera's arms.
Tera stopped pacing, and stared at Taylor with pleading and confused hazel eyes. Her mouth hung open as if she wanted to say something, before beginning her pacing again. "Why Taylor? Why?" Her voice was high and forced like she was on the verge of crying, something Tera did not do often, if at all. She held her face in her hands, stopping her pacing.
"He wants me home," was all Taylor could whisper. How could she explain this to Tera? Tera didn't hear her father's voice. Tera didn't see his pleading eyes. Tera couldn't understand.
Tera just stared at Taylor again. Taylor noticed Tera's nimble fingers tracing the lines on her forearm, subconsciously. "I don't know what to tell you Taylor. I want to say something along the lines of 'you're being an idiot'. But there's that annoying, persistent little voice in my head that keeps telling me to support whatever you decide." She stuffed her hands into her pockets and walked to the window. "What if he hurts you again?"
'Don't you think I've thought about that? Don't you think I've pounded my brain over that a million and six times just to find an answer?' Taylor wanted to scream, but kept the disturbing thoughts to herself. "Just try to understand."
"I CAN'T!" Tera stomped her foot. "You finally got away from him! You said that's what you wanted most. You got it, Taylor. You got it! What's wrong with you?" Taylor didn't answer. "So that's it, eh? You're just gonna go." Tera approached the bed, shaking her head disapprovingly. She held out her hand to shake Taylor's. Taylor took it and Tera pulled her into an affectionate hug. "I'm gonna miss you, kiddo. I don't like this, but hey, it's up to you." They pulled away and Tera gave her one last weak smile. "It's been fun. I better go, see if they need help with dinner."
Taylor watched Tera leave and sighed sadly. Tera was close to crying. Otherwise, she wouldn't have run out of the room so fast. "I'm sorry Tera," Taylor whispered to the closed door.
"Shut up! Shut up!" He screamed at her, his hands balled into fists. "What's wrong with you?!"
All she could do was sob as his fists rained down on her.
She jumped up, with a gasp, and whipped her head around, trying to figure out where she was. Gennai's house, in the living room. She had fallen asleep on the couch.
Standing up with shaking legs, she stretched and rubbed her forehead. Her head hurt. She walked to the kitchen to get a drink of water, still haunted by her dream. Why couldn't it just go away, why did he have to haunt her like this?
"What if he hurts you again?"
'Dammit Tera,' she thought. 'Get out of my head!'
She stared out the kitchen window as she sipped her glass of water. Matt was out there, sitting under his tree, playing his guitar. She walked out into the backyard and watched Matt from a distance. Like the last time, he had his eyes closed and his head bobbed in tune to his music. Every once in a while he would stop, muttering to himself and writing something down in a notebook by his side.
He closed his eyes and began to strum the strings again. His head bobbed, slower this time and his blonde hair fell into his face. "The guy who put his hands on you has got nothing to do with me. And the bruises that you feel will heal. And I hope you'll come around cuz we're missing you. And you used to speak so easy, now you're afraid to talk to me. It's like walking with the wounded. Carrying that weight way too far. The concrete pulled you down so hard. Out there with the wounded."
She came out from behind the tree she had been standing behind.
"We're missing you. Well I never claimed to understand what happens after dark. But my fingers catch sparks at the thought of touching you. But you're wounded."
Slowly, she stepped towards Matt.
"Let me break it down till I force the issue. We miss your face and you know I wish you would come back down to the Dalva Bar and you tell me, that's just my battle scar. I want to kiss you and knock them down like we used to. You're the marigold till you're walking down shaking that ass again."
She giggled and a smile broke out on his face.
"And then you walk on baby walk on, you walk on, on and on. You're an angel in the pit with her hands in the air and we're missing you." His fingers slowed on the guitar strings and his smile disappeared. "Now it's fall and your shoulders get tighter. Nervous flicks on the lighter, boots. You're pissed off poets, you women's groups."
She sat down a foot away from him on the soft blanket he had spread out.
"And the friends with you, we should have known this fool. Well I guess we missed the mark. Still my fingers catch the sparks at the thought of them touching you. Now you're wounded." He abruptly stopped. "No that's just not right," he muttered, still ignoring Taylor's presence.
"I thought it sounded good," she whispered.
"Thanks," he smiled. "I, uh, had Tera get me the music to that song. Kinda hits close to home, don't it?"
She looked away. "You know?"
"Yeah, Tera told me on Thanksgiving. You okay with that?"
"I heard you're going away. That true?" He asked in an off hand way as he continued to play the music from the song.
"Your dad is taking you back, cool." His voice was less than enthusiastic. "Tera's completely opposed to it. I couldn't tell if she was more irate or worried." Again he stopped playing to jot something in his notebook. "Does your dad scare you?" She didn't answer. "I was scared of mine when he hit me," he shrugged as he read over the notebook. She stared at him, the first complete eye contact today. "Okay, tell me what you think now." He started to play again. "And the friends with you, we should have known this fool. Well I guess we missed the mark. Still my fingers catch the sparks at the thought of them-"
She pushed his hand down for him to stop. "Matt, what did you mean?"
"I meant for you to tell me if this time around was better," he replied with a laugh.
"No, not that. About-about..."
"About my dad hitting me," he finished. She nodded. "It's okay, you can say it. It doesn't mean anything to me." His smile never left his face, but it weakened as he spoke. "Yeah, my dad hit me. He got a little drunk after the divorce between him and my mom. He smacked me around for awhile." He bobbed his head again. "Let me break it down till I force the issue. You never come around, and you know we miss you. Well nobody took your pride away, I said, that's something people say." He looked at her again. "You know, talking about what hurts you might help."
"Did it help you?"
"Wouldn't know. I never told anyone." He played with the guitar strings. "You could try it and tell me if it does though." She didn't reply. "Hack down the bully to the back of the bus cause its time for them to be scared of us! Till you're yelling, how we living cause you got the ball. Then you rock on baby, rock on. You rock on, on and on. You're a summer time hottie with her socks in the air. You're screaming I don't care baby I don't care. You say you don't know. You say you can't grow. All I know is we're missing you."
"You say you don't know. You say you can't grow. All I know is we're missing you," she whispered with him. He smiled as he continued to play just the tune.
"You're an incredible singer," he commented. "We could've used someone like you in my band." He set his guitar down. "So what happened with your dad?"
"He used to beat me," she said quietly, trying to sound as relaxed as he did.
"Don't try to play it down like it was nothing. Don't try to sound like me. Because for you, it wasn't nothing. When my dad hit me, it lasted a few weeks, then he was going to Alcoholic meetings or something. A few weeks, that's nothing compared to, what, nine years?"
"Longer," she muttered.
"It was longer than that."
"Oh." He scooted closer and hesitantly set a hand on her shoulder. "It's okay, Taylor. You can talk. It's alright."
She clenched her fist. "No, it's not! It's not okay! It's not okay!" She yelled, her voice shaky. "Why'd she die? Why'd she die? She loved me so much; she was the only one who did. She loved me even though-even though..." By now she was sobbing and could barely force out any coherent words.
"Even though what?" He pushed softly.
"Even though I was a mistake! My father hated me! He hated me!" She sobbed harder. "They didn't want me."
"Who told you that?" Matt asked.
"My father," she forced.
"Taylor, why are you going back with him? Do you want to?"
"No! I hate being with him. I hate being alone with him," she shivered.
"Taylor, he did more than hit you, didn't he?" Matt asked. She looked at him again, the second point of eye contact; this was going to be a record. She nodded and his voice caught in his throat. "What did he do to you?"
It took a minute, but her sobbing stopped. She had her knees pulled to her chest and her chin rested on them. She stared out away from him. "He used to touch me. He wouldn't leave me alone. Usually, it was after he'd hit me. He'd come into my room and-" She shuddered and tears rolled down her face. He stayed quiet, waiting for her to continue. "He said it was my fault. Everything I got, everything he did was my fault. I didn't want it; I didn't like him doing it. It hurt so much."
"Taylor, look at me!" Matt ordered. She looked up at him. "It wasn't your fault. It was never your fault. Your father is a sick man, but you didn't deserve it, ever!" He wrapped his arms around her, ignoring her body tensing at the touch. "It's okay."
The sun had started to set by now, and temperature was beginning to drop. Goosebumps rose on her skin and he covered her with his jacket. She sat sideways in his lap, her head against his chest. Her sobbing had ceased, but tears still trailed down her face. Matt just hugged her tightly.
"Tera doesn't know?" He asked after god only knows how long.
"Tera doesn't know," she confirmed. "He's coming for me tomorrow. I don't want to go back. He'll hurt me."
"Tell Gennai. He can stop your dad," Matt suggested.
"My dad said no matter what I'm going back. He'll make me go." She pulled his jacket up to her chin and pressed closer to him. "He scares me, Matt. I can't fight him; I can't say no to him. I-I can't make him stop."
"Matt! Taylor! Get inside, it's getting dark!" Eli yelled from the house.
Matt got up and helped Taylor up. He wrapped his jacket around her and then gathered up his guitar. He put his arm around her shoulders. "We'll figure this out," he said as they walked toward the house. "If you don't want to go, then no one can make you go."
She stopped. "Thanks Matt," she whispered as she hugged him.
"No problem," he whispered back.
"You're sure?" Tera asked, stuffing Taylor's suit back onto the closet's top shelf.
"I don't want to go back," Taylor replied, playing with the hem of her shirt. "Are you mad at me Tera?"
"Me? No, we're still cool," she laughed. "It's almost three, you ready?"
"No," Taylor shook her head.
Tera smiled and hugged her. "You can do this."
"Tera, you're choking me," Taylor joked.
The doorbell rang downstairs.
"Are you sure you don't want me or someone else with you?" Tera asked as she headed for the door, Taylor following behind her.
Taylor just shook her head and pushed her hair out of her face with a shaky hand. They walked out into the hall and toward the stairs.
"Good luck," Tera whispered, squeezing Taylor's hand. She leaned over the railing, watching Taylor descended the stairs and Gennai let Mr. McCarlen in.
Taylor took one last reassuring glance at Tera before going into the living room where Gennai had seated her father. He sat alone on the couch. Gennai had already left. He looked up at her. "Get your stuff Taylor, the taxi's waiting." She shook her head. "What?"
"I'm-I'm not going," she forced, her voice just loud enough to be heard.
He jumped off the couch, causing her to step back in fear. "You're what?"
"I don't want to go back to New York. I don't want to go home with you," her voice shook and she choked to get her words out.
"Taylor, get your stuff," he ordered, his voice a low growl.
"NO!" She insisted, her voice growing. "I don't want to go back! This is my home, here, with my friends! You would always hurt me!"
"It was because I loved you Taylor," he growled.
"You don't hurt people who you love!" She snapped.
There was a fire in his eyes. His face turned a brilliant shade of red and the veins in his neck popped out in rage. "Who the hell do you think you are, raising your voice to me like that? If you only knew what is coming to you when we get back-"
"I'm not going back with you!" She yelled at him. "Mama never wanted me there with you! You can't make me go back!"
"Why you-" He grabbed her arm in his massive hand and lifted the other to smack her across the face. A whimper escaped her before she felt the sting of his hand against her cheek. He let go of her and she fell to the floor. "That should teach you to talk back to me." He nudged her with the toe of his shoe. "Now for the last time, get your stuff!"
She pushed herself off the floor. "No!"
He charged at her again, but staggered back as a blindingly bright light shone from her body. "What the hell?" She glanced down. Her purple crest shone brightly, it was glowing! She was unaffected by the light, but her father clutched his eyes tightly. "Turn off the damn light!" He screamed at her.
"I can't." She almost laughed.
He stumbled towards the exit of the living room, still holding his eyes and tripping over his own feet. "Fine! You freak! I don't know what the hell you're doing, but I can't see!" There was fear in his voice.
He's scared of me, she thought. It made her feel pretty good.
"You're a freak!" He accused. "Stay here for all I care. You are no longer my daughter!" His hand fumbled for the doorknob and he left.
A few minutes passed. Tera walked in and froze. "Taylor, your crest! It-its glowing!" A smile broke out on her face and she hugged Taylor, practically picking her up. "You did it Taylor! You did it!"
Taylor nodded, staring at the door that had been slammed shut.
Well, what did you all think? I'm not sure about the ending but I'm done with this chapter so I really don't care. I think I gave away more about Tera then I had originally wanted. That's okay, it just makes ya want to know more, hehe... Oh by the way, Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, watch out for the spiked egg nog.
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