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).


The sweet chirping of the little songbirds outside her window had never been such a horrid sound, until now. Her head buzzed with a hangover headache, and her muscles groaned at every attempt of movement. Her whole body hurt, from the ends of her hair to the tips of her toes. And she was so tired.

Someone shoot those damn birds…

She forced herself to sit up, her head sending sharp pains through her. She groaned. 'Dammit!' Straining her eyes open, she was met by a bright, sunny day. Her eyes burned.

Somehow, she managed to stumble out of bed and get dressed. It was a hard task, but not as hard as the next: getting to the breakfast table, where she assumed everyone else was at this moment in time, and being there without looking hung over. Thank God it was Saturday…

But somehow she managed it. As she pushed through the doors to the dining room, she fully opened her eyes, smiled, and realized…no one was inside. She slumped her body at the discovery. A sharp noise buzzed in her ears, indicating a presence talking in the living room. Groaning, she turned back and took a breath before stepping into the family room.

No one really paid attention to her when she stepped into the doorway. They were all either focused on Gennai, standing in front of the blank big screen TV, or shifting through boxes of glittering objects, scattered across the floor.

Aaron, Eli, Natalie, and Taylor sat on the floor pulling things out of the large brown boxes.

The things were Christmas ornaments. Matt, Sora, TK, Tera and Tai sat on the couch and love seat, listening to Gennai. Tera looked oddly pale, but she was up and dressed nonetheless.

"I'm gonna get a Christmas tree today," Gennai explained. "Usually we set it up on the twenty first so we an enjoy it for a few days. Christmas Eve isn't eventful. The children just spend the majority of the day wrapping presents and making phone calls to their parents."

"Or taking them from our parents," Natalie groaned.

Gennai shot her a look of disapproval, but he knew she was right. Every time her mother called, he was stuck picking up the pieces of a wounded girl. Natalie couldn't take her mother's constant verbal abuse, but Gennai couldn't stop her from calling because of her constant threats of taking Natalie away from his haven. Natalie was strong, but not strong enough to protect herself if put back in that environment.

Gennai shook his head and turned his attention to the teens sitting on the couch and love seat. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Kari in the doorway, but did not pay her any attention. "Usually, we open presents Christmas morning, after we come back from going out to breakfast, because I can't cook. But that tradition has slackened the past two Christmases, seeing as we spent them in the hospital." Tera gave a sheepish, lopsided grin. "But if all goes well, then that's the main plan." He ran a hand through his mop of brown hair. "We'll go to the mall today, I am giving you all a hundred dollars to buy gifts, I don't care for whom you buy. We have to leave by five thirty though. Aaron has to be home and packed by eight."

"Why?" Tai asked, looking over to his Mexican companion, who sat playing with a string of Christmas lights.

"My parents are picking me up tonight," he grinned half-heartedly. "I spend Christmas with my family."

"So, we'll be leaving in a few minutes, so get ready, alright?" Eight teens nodded and got up. They began to leave, walking past Kari with a 'good morning' and such.

Only Tera, Gennai and herself remained in the room. "Gennai?" Tera's voice quivered as she stood up. She was dressed in a thick black shirt with the word 'inspire' written across it in large handwriting, and a pair of blue jeans. Her forehead glistened from light perspiration.

'She's still fighting a fever,' Gennai thought. He shook his head again. "Tera, I'd really rather you not get out of bed. You're not well and you'll just end up overworking your body."

"Gennai I'm fine!" She said stubbornly, her voice stronger than moments before. "I want to go." Her hands were clenched, but the one with the cut did not close tightly.

He groaned to himself. He needed to forget about the cut. It was harmless; she claimed she hadn't done it. But then, a lot of cutters claimed that it was not their trade. "Tera, no! Stop being so stubborn, practice some a little self-preservation."

"Gennai, please. I'm fine. I feel FINE! Gennai, I don't want to be sick again this Christmas and I don't want to be left out. Let me go!"

He just stared at her, unconvinced, but knowing she would not back down. He directed a finger at her. "We come home, and you lay down because you'll be tired. You got me?" A smile ripped across her face and she hugged him tightly, but not quite as strongly as would have been usual. "Go get ready," he shooed her away.

Tera turned and bounded out of the room. Somehow, she managed to get upstairs, but from where she stood, Kari could see her struggling to breathe. "Good morning Kari."

"Morning Gennai," she forced.

"You're up late," he commented, sifting through a box. "Are you hungry?"

"No," Kari shook her head.

He glanced up at her. "Well, then, I suggest you finish getting ready to go." She nodded and turned away from him, but could feel his eyes burning a hole in her back. She shook it off and made her way up the stairs.

Matt sorted through his dresser drawer, searching for the extra money his father had sent him. Footsteps echoed in the room, making him look up. TK walked in, avoiding eye contact with Matt.

"Hey TK," Matt called. TK's head snapped up at him, his blue eyes dull and tired. "There anything you want for Christmas?"

TK half-grinned, wearily. "My sanity. Maybe my life, a real one."

"I'll try, but I don't think the stores sell those. Not within my budget at least," Matt joked.

TK stared at his brother, the supposed older version of himself. He couldn't figure the ass out. Just when TK was completely pissed off at Matt, he'd do something truly genuine and TK couldn't help but like him. But then Matt would do some other stupid thing and piss him off again.

"Did mom ever send you extra money?" Matt asked. TK nodded. "Cool." He turned his attention back to the drawer, when his hand hit something hard. His wad of money.

TK bit his lip. "Matt?" His brother looked up at him. "I gotta go back for chemo tomorrow. But with how sick I've been getting afterwards, I may have to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital." Matt kept his face expressionless, a habit he had acquired whenever they talked about TK's leukemia, but his face was still soft because it was TK, his little brother, who he was talking to. "I'm sick and tired of chemo and being sick, Matt! And I don't want to be alone in the hospital on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Will you stay with me?"

"Of course, TK," Matt stepped forward and wrapped a stiff arm around his brother's neck. "Why do you need to ask?"

"Thanks Matt," he nearly choked. "Thanks."

Tai carried his bags from the mall into his shared room. Aaron was the only one there; Matt and TK had already dropped off the results of their shopping. Tai walked over to his bed and dropped his bags beside Aaron's open suitcase. He glanced at the American teen pulling clothes out of his drawer.

"So, where do your parents live?" Tai asked as he sat down on the bed.

Aaron glanced up at him briefly before going back to his sock drawer. "Nogales."

"Nogales, Mexico? Wouldn't that make you a Mexican DigiDestined instead of American?" Tai asked skeptically.

"No, Nogales, Arizona. It's about an hour from here."

Tai nodded. "Do you want to go spend Christmas with them?"

Aaron sighed. "I dunno. Sure, I like the thought of spending it with my family, but…I dunno, they're not. My brothers will spend all day punching me and roughhousing, and I'll just end up with a black eye. Then, my dad will sit there telling me how I'm not man enough to be in the family or to be his son. The only perk is seeing my mom and eating her cooking again."

"Sounds like fun," Tai said sarcastically.

Aaron shrugged. "I'd rather be here, but I'd rather be there. There's no right answer." He walked over to the bed, tossing boxers and socks into the suitcase. His eyes found Tai's bags. "So what did you get Sora?" He asked with a cocky grin.

"None of your business," Tai snapped back. "What'd you get for Tera?"

"None of your business!" Aaron laughed.

Tai sighed as he searched through his bags. "I spent three hours trying to figure out what to get for Kari. I had no idea."

"What did you decide on?" Aaron asked as he shut his suitcase.

"A necklace and a gift certificate," Tai shrugged.

"Ooooh creative," Aaron joked.

"Shut up, man!"

Aaron looked at him skeptically. "Did you ask her? I dunno man, but with all this shit you talk about wanting to start over again and being a real big brother to her, you don't seem to really be trying. Every time I turn around, you're with Sora, and that's understandable because of certain circumstances. But I've never seen you talking to her, not once."

"What do you know?!" Tai barked. "Not a damn thing. Maybe you need to mind your fucking business!"

"Tai, you don't get it. There are other people here beside you and Sora. Your sister is just as hurt as you, but the moment Sora said 'I love you', you forgot about Kari. You need to try! That's all!" Aaron snapped back, unaffected by the iciness in Tai's voice.

"Fuck off, Aaron." He stood up and started to walk out of the room.

"I'll fuck off as soon as you wake up!" Aaron called after him. "Merry Christmas to you too, buddy."

The doorbell rang downstairs, and, with a deep breath to calm himself, Aaron grabbed his suitcase. Tera walked in, struggling to keep upright. "Your parents are here."

"Thanks," he replied with a nod.

She walked over and sat down on his bed. "Tai looked pretty mad when he went downstairs. Did you get into a fight?"

"Yeah," Aaron sighed. "He was saying how he didn't know what to get for Kari, and then I said he never tried with her. He got really pissed." Tera only nodded. "Tera?" She looked up at him with weak brown eyes, but he could have melted under them anyway. "Why are you up? You look terrible."

"Thanks Aaron," she laughed softly. "You're the best. Well, I had to see you off. And give you your Christmas present." She held out a shoebox-sized box, cutely wrapped with dancing Santas on the paper.

He ripped into it. It was, indeed, a shoebox. "Wow, shoes! How'd you know I needed some?"

"Aaron, quit being a doofus," she laughed. "Open it."

He grinned and opened the box. Inside were three CDs and a large magazine type book. Setting down the box, he picked up the gifts. GTA one, two and three for Playstation 2. And a cheat book. "But I don't have a PS2," he argued, staring at the games.

She smiled innocently. "I know. I kinda ruined Gennai's gift. Sorry."

He grinned and pulled her into a tight hug. "Thank you so much!" He pulled away and looked down at the gifts in his hand. "If I give you your present, you gotta promise not to get mad."

She raised an eyebrow and smiled, amused at the thought. "Aren't gifts supposed to make you happy?" She joked. He was completely serious. "Okay, I promise."

He reached into his pocket and fingered a small box, before pulling it out and handing it to her. Taking the box, she opened it to reveal a small ring with a smoky black stone. She touched the black stone lightly, with shaky fingers. "What's this?"

"It's a promise ring. I know they're usually diamonds or cubic zirconium or something, but I thought this seemed more fitting. Dark and tainted." A small blush forced its way over her cheeks.

She touched the ring lightly as she swallowed hard before looking up at him with tear filled eyes. "I hate you, Aaron Cortinas!" She screamed, throwing the box at him with the ring stuck inside. The words struck him like a ton of bricks, but they didn't surprise him. "How could you?! Why do you keep making it so hard?!"

"Tera, you promised you wouldn't get mad remember?" He pointed out softly.

Tera inhaled deeply. "Aaron, I can't. I just can't."

"YOU WON'T TRY!" Aaron yelled back. "Why do you always give up before you even try?! Tera, I am completely in love with you, and no matter how many times we talk this over or you tell me you can't, I can't change! I need you!"

Tera jumped to her feet, a new energy surging through her, an energy supplied by sadness, guilt, and anger. "You need pain?! You need to be hurt?! You need to feel what its like to lose someone?! Aaron, you know exactly what will happen. You've heard the doctors. I can't do this anymore! I can't keep living. I'm not going to make it past twenty. I'll be lucky if I finish high school." She said all this so dryly, with no emotion, it sounded like she wasn't even saying it.

He grabbed her arms and pulled her close to him. She stared at him fearfully as he made her meet his eyes. "Then we will take the next four years and live four lifetimes. Tera, I didn't care that you had HIV when we met, and I certainly don't give a fuck that you have AIDS now!"

She pushed him away. "But I do! I give a fuck. I care. I care about you and I don't want to put you through this. I don't want you to leave on a bad note with me, Aaron," she lowered her eyes, "but I can't accept your gift." She shook off his arms, again refusing to meet his gaze, and left the room.

He stuffed the ring into his pocket and followed, seething in anger. She led the way downstairs and into the living room where Aaron's parents sat on the couch talking to Gennai. They all looked up to the sound of the pair coming in.

"Aaron, mi hijo!" His mother screamed in Spanish as she jumped off the couch. She enveloped him in a hug with a strength even his brothers would envy.

(A/N: Okay, I was going to be really creative and have the whole scene with Aaron's parents in Spanish, but then I realized how long this scene was so I didn't. So just assume everyone is now speaking Spanish until they leave. Oh and Aaron's mom just said 'Aaron, my son.')

His mother was a thick woman. In her day, she had been a thin beauty many had sought after. But through age and childbirth she'd lost that figure. She was still a beauty, not fat, just a nice, plump Mexican mother. "My baby! You've gotten so big!"

If a blush could be seen over his dark brown skin, Aaron would be glowing red. "Hola mama, como estas?"

She pushed him back and smacked him over his head. "Don't be so formal, mijo!"

His father got off the couch, glorifying the room, looking as if he were god's gift to sons everywhere. "Aaron," he grunted with a nod. Yes, his father was a man of few words.

His mother looked at Tera, who had taken a stance beside Gennai. The older man had secured a hand on her shoulder, and she looked liked she was going to be sick again. Aaron's mother noticed Tera's discomfort, but chose to ignore it. "Hola Tera. How have you been?"

"Good," Tera greeted. "And yourself?"

"Very good. I'm just so happy to see my boy. Will your father be coming to see you this Christmas?"

"No, he's in Iraq right now, on duty. He won't be coming home for a few months."

"Oh child, I am so sorry. You should come spend Christmas with us. You're more than welcome, you know. And I'd feed you properly, too. You're so skinny. I'd put some meat on you." She poked Tera in the ribs and the girl laughed. It was a strong laugh, maybe she was feeling better. Or maybe she was faking it.

"What's your father doing there?" His father asked. 'And the true Vietnam vet rears his ugly head,' Aaron thought sourly.

"He's just on standby at the base," she explained. "They had him stationed with ground troops in Afghanistan, but they transferred him to Iraq."

"Armando, leave the child alone," Aaron's mother scolded. "I'm sure Tera doesn't want to talk about her father's absence. I'm sure it's hard enough without another army fanatic."

Tera smiled slightly. "It's fine, Senora Cortinas."

"Fine," Mr. Cortinas muttered. "We should be going anyway." Tera's eyes flashed nervously between Mr. Cortinas and his wife, fearing she had put off the former military man. The tall man with jet-black hair and sun leathered skin stepped towards Gennai and shook his outstretched hand. "We'll bring Aaron back on the first."

"After New Year's this year?" Gennai asked, surprised. Mr. Cortinas nodded and left without a second glance back.

Mrs. Cortinas set a hand on Tera's shoulder. "Don't worry, mija. You know my husband's not pleasant. Especially not to those who aren't Mexican."

"And army brat gringas are no exception," Aaron spoke up, his tone light, but full of hurt. Only Tera picked up on it, and it cut her to the bone.

"Well, let's head off Aaron. Goodbye, Mr. Harrison. Thank you for taking care of my son." She looked at Aaron. "I'll leave you to say your goodbyes." She followed her husband out.

"Have a merry Christmas Aaron," Gennai smiled at his young ward despite the fact that it troubled him to see him go.

Aaron smiled back, trying to put on a good show. "You too, Gennai."

"Don't worry about anything your brothers or your father say to you," Gennai reminded him.

"Thanks." He turned to Tera. His eyes were full of hurt, but he smiled anyway. It looked just as painful. "Seeya Tera."

"Merry Christmas, Aaron," she smiled, looking similarly pained.

Gennai watched the pair. This wasn't unusual. Aaron tried something with Tera, she refused. They both ended up heartbroken, but Aaron never gave up and Tera never said yes.

"Bye." He leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips. Before she could react his mouth was gone and he was out the door.

"Bye," she whispered to the door, tears building in her eyes. It took her a second before she pulled her gaze away from the door; tears about ready to spill and running from the living room.

Gennai started after her, but stopped in the foyer. Natalie had caught Tera before she had escaped upstairs, after she had nearly bowled her over. Natalie stared at Tera sobbing in her arms as she tried to break away. Natalie wasn't going to let her go, not until she found out what happened.

Gennai sighed and shook his head. He was too old to deal with teen angst.

"Hey Kari."

"Hey Renny," she greeted, as she slipped into the car beside the slim Mexican girl. Zane and Ryan sat in the back seat, chasing down beers and laughing. "Hey guys."

"Hi Kari!" Ryan laughed. He was totally zonked.

"Hi Kari," Zane repeated. "What's happening?"

"Don't mind them," Renny rolled her eyes. "They're completely toked!"

"Not completely!" Ryan argued.

"You can't be partially toked!" Renny snapped, her red nailed hands tightened on the steering wheel of Zane's car.

"New stock tonight, Ry?" Kari asked, glancing over the seat. Her house had long since disappeared from sight, but she had a bad feeling about tonight.

"No," he raised an eyebrow playfully and smirked. "We mixed a few things."

Renny leaned over, a sweet smell of perfume wafting from her. "They're going to be damn hung over in the morning. So don't mind what Zane says. He gets infected with the stupid disease when he's high. Don't let whatever he says ruin anything with you. Odds are, he won't remember it tomorrow."

"I will too!" Zane snapped, leaning over the seat. His dark eyes looked faraway and his lips looked soft.

"Zane, what did I just say?" Renny asked.

"IY" He looked thoughtful. "I find that question invalid and I plead the sixth-I mean, fifth." He crossed his arms, smugly.

"I rest my case," Renny laughed. Kari giggled softly. "Hey, what's up? You seem tense."

"Nothing, nothing," Kari shook her head.

Renny reached into the black purse sitting on the floor by Kari's feet, and pulled out an Altoids tin. "Here, I'm sure you can guess what's in it. It'll help you relax." Kari took the tin and flipped it open. It was filled with white pills and smaller blue pills.

"Ignore the blue ones. Those are birth control."

Ryan grinned. "Those are for me"

"Who said?" Renny countered.

Ryan's mouth dropped open. "WHAT?!"

Renny leaned over again. "It's so nice to keep them on their toes." Kari laughed and took two pills.

They danced to the overly loud music, barely feeling the floor under their feet as laughter echoed in their corner of the room. Renny, Ryan, Zane and Kari had met up with some of their other friends, Stevie, Gress and Alex. They had taken over a yellowed love seat in a corner, and the dance floor around it. The air hung thick with smoke and various other smells, and the temperature of the room was hotter than hell. Her head swam from the beers Slick so graciously served to them, and from the ecstasy that had long since taken affect on her body.

Zane's lips made their way up her neck to her ear. "You thirsty?" She nodded and he pulled away to go get them something. She faltered, no longer under Zane's support.

Another body caught her. "You okay?" A male voice, sharp and cutting sounded in her ears. The buff blond hottie called Slick appeared in her line of vision. Her knees buckled and she fell into his arms. "Whoa, babe. I think you've had too much to drink. Can you stand?" She tried to stand, locking her knees before she sank back down with a laugh. Slick's arm was right there to catch her. "Ren, Ry, where's Zane?"

Ryan glanced over at them. "He went to get something to drink."

"I think you've had too much already," Slick whispered sincerely. He wrapped an arm around her waist and began to lead her off. "Come on, I'll lay you down." Slick began to help her out of the bustling room and down the dark hall, full of half clothed couples randomly dotting the floor. He stopped in front of the farthest room where a sign was posted on the door, 'Slick's room. Off Limits.'

Her head swam as he ushered her inside.

Zane emerged from the kitchen, a drink in each hand, and began to navigate through the crowd. He searched for the spot he had left, where Kari had been dancing with his friends. His friends were there, but Kari wasn't. He walked up to his friends. "Where's Kari guys?"

Ry looked up from Renny's neck. "Um…I think Slick took her to lay down somewhere, she was like overly wasted."

Zane looked across the room, towards the hall. "Shit…" He dropped the cups and took off down the hall, avoiding the making out couples and stopped in front of Slick's room. Without a second thought he threw the door open and stepped in.

Slick was on the bed, on top of a passed out Kari. "Slick, what are you doing?!" Zane demanded. Slick glanced up just in time to see Zane's fist sailing at him.

Gennai groaned and pushed himself out of bed. It was two in the morning, who the hell was ringing the doorbell? He opened the door to his bedroom, tying his robe as he did. The doorbell rang again, and Eli appeared from his bedroom. "I've got it Eli. Go back to sleep."

"Alright Gennai." Eli turned his chair around, and as Gennai passed he caught sight of Tera lying in Eli's bed. He shook his head as he passed Natalie's door and emerged into the foyer. The doorbell rang for a third time.

He yanked the door open. "Can I help you?!" He snapped at the teenage boy who stood on his doorstep.

"Mr. Yagami?" The boy asked.

Gennai's eyes were met with the sight of Kari unconscious in the boy's arms. "Yes, that's me."

"Um, I'm bringing Kari back from a party. I think she had too much to drink," he said uncomfortably.

Gennai took Kari. "Thank you. Tell me, how old are you?"

"I'm 17, sir."

"Your name?"

"Zane Avila."

"Thank you, Zane, for bringing her home," Gennai said as calmly as possible. "But what did you think you were doing out with a thirteen year old girl at a party?"

"Sir, I-I just met her there, she was passed out. My friends told me her name and her address. Since I had a car, they told me to bring her home," he offered as an explanation.

"Okay, fine. Sorry for jumping down your throat. Have a nice night and thank you for bringing Kari home."

"You're welcome, Mr. Yagami." Zane turned and quickly walked back to his car, without a glance back.

Tera looked up at the sound of a groan. Kari was beginning to stir. She climbed down from her bed slowly, her entire body aching and pain stabbing in her chest, and moved to Kari's side. The Japanese girl squinted her eyes. "Shit, my head," she croaked.

"You're a little hung over," Tera acknowledged softly. She held a water bottle to Kari's lips. "Here, drink this."

She downed the entire bottle. "What's this for?"

"So you don't get dehydrated," Tera answered.

Kari attempted to sit up, but failed and sank back to her pillow. "What happened? I don't remember-" She trailed off.

"Coming home from the party?" Tera suggested. She pulled the wooden chair from the desk as she felt her legs wobble weakly.

"Yeah," Kari whispered, ashamed, keeping her eyes from Tera, though she had not met her eyes yet.

"Some guy named Zane brought you home. He said you had too much too drink or something. Gennai, being his usual paranoid self, took you to the hospital." Tera sighed. "He had good reason. Doctors found roofies in your system, they had to pump your stomach."


"It's a date rape drug. Someone drugged you."

Kari stopped breathing. Had Zane drugged her? She couldn't remember, but…she didn't remember anything. "What time is it?"

"Ten o'clock AM Christmas Eve. You slept through yesterday completely. Oh, uh, Gennai wants to see you as soon as you can get up."

Kari groaned. "Is he gonna send me away?"

"I doubt it, Gennai's pretty lenient. He'll give you a couple chances before he'll give up on you. I should know. I'm on my last."

Kari forced herself into a sitting position, squinting as pain shot through her head and finally looked at Tera. What she saw froze her. Her skin was devoid of all color and her lips held a bluish color. Her breathing was shallow. Kari took a breath and looked away, trying to break herself from her shock. Tera looked so sick. "What'd you do?"

"Oh god, what didn't I do?" Tera sighed with a laugh. "Drug possession, running away, refusing to respect authority. The list, along with my rap sheet, goes on and on."

Kari's mouth dropped. "Drug possession?!"

Tera gave her a look that said 'give me a break' before letting out a regged cough. "Don't give me that! You know those roofies did a really good job of hiding what you were on!"

Kari froze. "Huh?"

"So what is it you do? Speed? Weed? Heroin?"

Kari whispered something.


"Ecstasy," she sighed, louder. "It was a safer drug of choice and believe me, I had choices! After my parents died and Tai stopped giving a damn, I kinda took comfort in the party scene. At the parties I went to, there was HEAVY drug use. E is weak compared to what was going around. Besides, I wouldn't get addicted."

A/N: (This is true. Ecstasy is a non-addictive drug. Although many people find the experience worth repeating, it is not a drug that you will crave much, like heroin and other stuff.)

"That's what I've heard. I dunno, I never got to sample E myself. It was too soft for most dealers I knew."

"Tera," Kari began cautiously. "What did you take?"

"Heroin," Tera replied without a thought. "Heroin was my thing."

"Is that why you have a parole officer? I mean, that's a really hard drug. Don't yell at me for prying, my head hurts too much."

Tera shook her head. "It's fine." She looked down at her hands. "Yeah, that's why. Technically, I should be in juvy (juvenile detention - jail for teens) right now, but the state released me to Gennai. And as long as I stay out of trouble, I don't have to go back there because I did spend a week there, it sucked. So no more drugs or running."

Kari found herself staring at Tera's partly pushed up sleeves and the light scars that held traces of her past. "Tera?" She started, trying to figure out how to word what she wanted to say. "What made your life so bad?"

Tera thought back. 'Oh…my step mom…my absent father…my over protective step brother…my other ass of a step brother (And yes, that does mean Tera has two step brothers)…take your pick.' Tera bit her lip. "It started when my dad got remarried. My mom had left us when I was two, but I never really cared, it didn't bother me. But then my dad got remarried and I couldn't stand his new wife, but my dad was totally oblivious to that fact. The only bonus I found in the entire remarriage deal was Eli. They got married and that pissed me off. And my dad was never home, so I was stuck with step mom from hell all the time. You see, my dad is an army general. He's always getting transferred so he can help train soldiers and do missions and crap, so we've been all over the world because he couldn't just leave me. Then he married 'Carol'," she groaned at the name. "And I had to stay home with her while he went on missions. That's why I started running away, but I always got sent back." She sighed. "My dad would come home and he'd always be mad at me because I never behaved. That's what started the drugs and the cutting." She met Kari's eyes. "I found out I'd developed HIV after I had come back from the Digital World."

"HIV?" Kari repeated, startled. Tera nodded staring down at the floor. Strands of hair feel into her face. "That's why you're always going to the doctors and stuff?" Tera nodded. "That's why you freaked out when I cut your hand?"

"Yeah. If my blood got into yours, you'd have the virus. I'm a full-fledged AIDS case. No hope." Tera held out her hand. "But you do, so give my your supply."

"Huh?" Kari asked.

"Your supply of E, give it to me." Kari reached under her pillow and pulled out the candy tin that held her extra pills. Tera took it and slipped it into her pocket. "Don't worry. It's going in the toilet, not Gennai's hands."

Kari stared down at the floor. "Thanks Tera."

"No prob, kid," she smiled. "Go talk to Gennai. The sooner you're grounded, the sooner its over. He's in his study."

Kari laughed as she forced herself to her feet and dragged herself out of the room. She glanced back briefly to see Tera collapsed, her hands shaking. She pulled her gaze away and went down the stairs, taking them slowly one by one, trying to not jar her head. With a sigh, she knocked on the door. "Come in."

She took a deep breath. 'Here I go…'

She sat in the bathroom staring at her wrist. The mark from last time she had done it was gone. Healed. She ran a pale finger over her wrist. She lightly touched scars; pale white line that overlapped older ones. These were what made her feel better.

Tears rolled down her face as she clutched the razor tightly in her shaky hand. Her chest ached and breathing was difficult. It hurt so much.

Gennai had spent an hour and a half yelling at her. He just kept telling her off, telling her what she did wrong. She knew…she knew… Then her brother stopped her in the hallway. She needed comfort, support, but what did he do, he rubbed salt in the wound. He called her stupid. She hated him more than anything…

She carved into her arm, letting out a hiss of pain. It hurt with no drugs. But she did it anyways, making long lines down her arm, avoiding the vein. She didn't want to die, just stop the pain. She cut until the blood ran down her arm.

She forced herself off the floor, holding her arm and sticking it under the faucet, letting the water wash away the blood. Slowly she came into her right mind.

'Oh god…its so deep…it won't stop bleeding.' She pulled her arm from under the water and quickly wrapped it in a towel. She pushed the door opened to the bathroom and rushed to her room. Sora and Natalie were the only ones inside.

"Where's Tera?!" She demanded, sobbing.

Natalie looked up. She and Sora were standing over the desk, wrapping presents. "She collapsed again. Eli and Gennai took her to the hospital a half an hour ago." Kari sank to her knees, sobbing and holding her arm to her chest. Natalie knelt down beside her. "Kari, what's wrong?" With a defeated sob she held out her towel wrapped arm and Natalie unwrapped it. She let out a gasped at all the blood.

"Kari, what'd you do?!" Sora demanded.

"Sora, it hurts. I couldn't help myself. It just hurts."

She felt someone's arms wrap around her and hug her tightly. "It's okay, it's okay," Sora whispered, rocking her. "Calm down."

So what do you think? Is anyone interested in seeing the phone calls from the parents of the DigiDestined? I was gonna do it, but I couldn't figure out where. Tell me what you think. Oh and yes, I realize that I had made Tai and Kari's surname Yagamiya. I found out that was incorrect, I fixed that. Later!

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