Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon
A/N: This is a waning to you all. This series will be dark and kind of OOC (out of character). I felt kind of wrong for starting this series after watching the last episode today. Everyone was so happy. This is far from happy. Eventaully there will be happy and romance. Plus this is after 02. Let's pretend the whole 'everybody grew up and had kids' thing never happened. At least not yet. Also, the American kids will be main characters just like the DigiDestined. Don't like 'em, tough! Then stop reading. What I want to do is bring in at least two stories per chapter. One from the DigiDestined and one from an American kid.
Screams echoed everywhere he turned. There was sobbing in one direction, yelling in another. He stumbled over a footstool in the dark, but was on his feet again in a matter of seconds. 'Just run!' His mind screamed at him in fear. He ran for the front door.
There were gunshots followed by a blood-curdling scream.
Crying came from a closet by the door. He paused for a fraction of a moment deliberating whether to continue running or not. He threw open the door and saw a figure huddled in the farthest corner of the closet. She looked up, big brown eyes filled with tears, but not completely full of understanding. He reached down and grabbed her wrist. He yanked her off the floor and out the door.
'Just run,' his mind said. His legs were possessed by some unknown force that fed him energy to run despite waking up only moments ago. The crying of his sister refused to cease.
They burst out through the front of a building only to be greeted by hundreds of guns pointed at their faces with flashing police lights backing them.
Tai sat up as he felt a scream push from his throat to his mouth. It hung in the still air. He panted and wiped the sweat off his forehead as he glanced around. Two bunk beds, one brightly lit room. It was only a dream.
It was the same every time. It showed the same thing. How he ran like a coward. Then the horrifying scene with all the guns. They thought it was him. He was the perpetrator. The guns were ready to fire. Kari cried harder and they pulled her away from him.
The police did let him go, obviously. He got to see Kari again, but not until they were both at the hospital. Fifteen hours later.
Tai looked over the side of the bunk and glanced at the digital clock that sat on Aaron's dresser. 9:15 a.m. It was a Saturday. No one would be up for a while, well, except Gennai. He would be at work, wherever he worked. No one had figured that out yet, not even the American kids.
"What are you doing up, Tai?" A voice asked. Tai looked to the source of the voice and saw Aaron looking over at him. He stood in a green shirt that had Oakland A's written in yellow letters across the front. It was tucked into gray pants that stopped just below his knees. Green knee-high socks covered his ankles that disappeared into black cleats.
"What's with the get-up?" Tai asked with an eyebrow raised.
"I play baseball. This is the uniform. Nightmares?" He asked as he turned back to the mirror on his closet door. He pulled a dark green baseball cap over his black hair and made it so it covered his dark green eyes with shadow.
"Yeah." Tai laid his head back against the pillow. "You have a game?"
"Yeah," Aaron replied. He moved the mirror so instead of his own image he tried to see Tai. "You ever been to a baseball game? Do they have baseball in Japan?"
"Yes, stupid. They have baseball in Japan," Tai snapped.
"Sorry, I don't pride myself in excessive knowledge of Japan." He adjusted the cap. "What sports are you into?"
"Soccer," Tai muttered. "I haven't played in a long while though."
"Soccer. That's a good sport. I play when the season rolls around. Why'd you stop playing?"
"No reason." Tai pushed himself up and hopped down off the bed. Stretching he looked out the window and at the blue dawn.
There was a knock at the door. "Aaron, you almost ready?" It was Tera's voice.
"Just a sec," Aaron called back. "I'll meet you downstairs."
"Tera's going?" Tai asked as he pulled a shirt over his bare chest.
"Tera's a major baseball nut. She plays softball on her own time and she helps out at other games with the league. She works the snack bar for money." He opened the closet and pulled out a sports bag and draped it over his shoulder. "She's never missed one of my games. We're ball buddies," he joked with a grin.
"Sounds kinda kinky," Tai remarked. He pulled some khaki shorts.
"Ah shut up!" Aaron laughed, blushing. "You want to go to my game?"
"Huh?" Tai looked up at him.
"Do. You." He pointed to Tai. "Want. To. Go." He pointed out the door. "To. My." He pointed to his chest. "Game?" He asked in the most 'duh' he could muster. Tai laughed and rolled his eyes. "You could come, if you want."
"Sure, why not?" Tai shrugged.
"That's the spirit!" Aaron gave Tai a friendly slap on the back. "You can go out. Explore Tucson." Tai gave him a funny look. "Or maybe you could just earn money working the snack bar. They pay you, you know."
"Yeah, you mentioned that," Tai replied as he sat down and pulled on his shoes.
"Five bucks a game. Not bad if you're broke. And you're broke, man," Aaron laughed.
"I guess your right. Why do you care anyway?" Tai asked suspiciously. They walked out of the room and down the stairs.
"Well, I'm not sure. I guess we DigiDestined leaders have to stick together."
"Wait, DigiDest-" Tai was cut off by them walking into the living room and Tera jumping off the couch.
"Oh, you're coming too, Tai?" She asked.
"Yeah, Tai wants to make some quick cash," Aaron laughed.
"How are we getting there?" Tai asked. "The weather in Tucson isn't that great for walking."
"Is little Tai complaining about the heat?" Tera giggled as she pinched Tai's cheek lightly. Tai blushed. "Its okay. I have to agree, even though I've lived here all my life, Tucson weather is a pain. Hotter than hell."
"Natalie's driving us," Aaron replied, ignoring Tera's rambling. He did laugh slightly though.
Natalie walked in, munching on a bagel. "Are you three ready?" She asked. Tera and Aaron nodded. Tai shrugged. "Alright." She walked to the door with the three behind her. She grabbed some keys off a hook by the door and walked out. They went to a small green car that sat in the driveway. The three got in and were on the road in seconds.
Tai sat in the backseat beside Aaron. He wanted to ask the boy about the DigiDestined leader comment, but not with the girls there. So he allowed the question to slip from his mind.
He rested his head against the car window and his forehead began to burn from the sweltering glass. Not that he cared; the pain seemed to have no effect. He stared out at the homes they passed. This was the first time Tai had ventured from Gennai's house in the three days they had been there. He could see the city with its high rising buildings and smog far in the distance.
But that wasn't anywhere near where he was and he liked it. That scene he had done in Japan, he didn't like it. Too crowded, too impersonal. Tai liked the houses spaced far apart and how the neighbors seemed so close. He had met some of the people here. Very nice.
His thoughts somehow made their way back to his old life. But there was nothing left of that. His parents were dead, his sister had fallen apart, his best friend was not his best friend, and he couldn't lead the DigiDestined. Well, he could lead them, but look at where they ended up. Not the kind of leadership he hoped for.
The car stopped and Tai looked up. They were in a green park. There were two big baseball fields, a soccer field, and a huge playground. There were adults and little kids congregating around one of the fields.
Aaron and Tera got out. "I'll call you if we need a ride home, okay?" Tera smiled.
"Sure," Natalie replied.
They stepped off the street and onto the red dirt that covered the earth around the field. Tai glanced over at Aaron. "When is your game? These kids all look at least eight years younger then you."
"You're not the only one who needs the cash, Tai," Aaron laughed. "No, we have to be at practice an hour early. I get here a half hour earlier than that because that's when Tera comes. If I don't ride with her and Natalie I have to walk. I'm actually rather lazy, so I don't want to walk." Tai nodded in understanding. "Hey Tera." She glanced back at him. "I'm gonna volunteer to be an ump, could you stick my stuff in the snack bar?"
"Yeah." He handed it to her before walking off toward the field. "Come on, Tai. I'll show you where we'll be working. It's the best seat in the park."
"Oh, why's that?" He asked as he followed her.
She grinned. "It's air conditioned." They continued to walk to a small white building. They went inside and were greeted by a tall woman with long blonde hair pulled back in a braid.
"Morning Tera," the woman said with a sweet voice.
"Good morning Mrs. Jackson," she smiled back. She pulled Tai up beside her. "This is Tai Yagami. He wants to help out."
Mrs. Jackson looked him over. She gave him a smile. "That's great. The more help the better. My name is Cathy Jackson."
"It's nice to meet you," Tai replied.
"Where's Aaron?" Mrs. Jackson asked Tera.
"He went to go volunteer for umpiring. It's just me and Tai working the snack bar."
"Alright. I'll see you later. Bye." She walked out of the snack bar and Tera closed the door behind her.
"Who was that?" Tai asked, curiously.
"Cathy? Oh, she's the president of the league. She handles most of everything." Tera walked over to a window and pulled it open. "Now we're in business. Here, sit down." She pulled a stool up for him to sit at the window she had opened. She moved to a second window and opened it too.
The day passed without much excitement. The job was easy, except for the American money, which Tera helped him with.
Tai handed a soda to a fifteen-year-old blonde girl. He had to admit she was very attractive and as their hands brushed they smiled sheepishly at each other. She gave a quick wave before walking off.
"Ah, how cute. Tai likes someone," Tera giggled.
Tai glared at there. There was a blush mixed with it. "Shut up." Through the afternoon he had gotten to know her pretty well. He didn't mind her off-hand teasing. She didn't mean it. "I don't even know her."
"Young love," she sighed with a dreamy look on her face.
"Yeah, what about it?" A voice asked. They looked toward the door. Aaron stood there red faced, with sweat soaked hair plastered to his forehead. He held a black umpire's mask in his hand and a chest guard covering his body.
Tera jumped up and got a cup of ice water for him. She handed it to him and he took a long drink. "You really shouldn't be out there in the sun before your game. You'll be wiped out."
He finished off the water. "I'll be fine, mother."
"Whatever, you jerk." She sat down on her stool, arms crossed, looking away from him.
"I think I'm in trouble," he winked at Tai. Tai nodded before Aaron went up behind Tera and began to tickle her. She laughed uncontrollably until tears fell from her eyes. He let her go and she collapsed to the floor.
"I…hate you," she panted as she wiped her tears.
He helped her up. She pulled away and stepped behind Tai. He kissed Tera on the cheek. "I love you too." He glanced out the window. "There's my team, I'm forty minutes late." He gave Tai a pat on his shoulder as walked to the door. He picked up his bag and walked out.
"Ah, how cute. Tera likes someone," Tai teased.
"Not true!" Tera denied. Her eyes said different. They twinkled as she brushed her cheek with her hand.
"Whatever you say."
Two people walked in. It was an older woman and boy a year older then them. The woman smiled. "Hi Tera. Your shift is over. Daniel and I will do Aaron's game. You can go out and watch."
"Thanks, Mrs. Stills." Tera grabbed Tai and walked out of the snack bar. He noticed that she didn't look at the boy Daniel. He stared at her with ice-cold blue eyes.
They walked toward the bleachers and saw two teams take the field. One was Aaron's team and the other was the Diamondbacks. "Poor them," Tai said as he followed Tera to the top of the bleachers. "They're in black."
"Yeah, the Diamondbacks hate playing during the day," Tera replied. They sat down and waited for the game to start.
As the game began Tai watched in fascination. He had never really cared for baseball, but it wasn't as bad as he remembered. In fact it looked like a lot of fun.
The game ended, Aaron's team won. He dashed over to meet them with a huge grin on his face. Tera hugged him. "Great job!"
"Thanks," he said sheepishly.
"Good game. Pretty interesting," Tai congratulated. "For baseball, that is."
"Thanks," Aaron laughed. He took off his cap and wiped his brow with the back of his hand. "My coach offered us a ride home, we just have to wait about twenty minutes."
"Great," Tera replied.
Tera glanced over her shoulder and saw Mrs. Jackson calling to her. "I'll be right back," she informed Aaron.
"Come on, let's walk around. Pick up chicks," Aaron joked.
Tai laughed and they began to walk around. The field was watered and prepared for another game. Little kids around five and six years old began to fill the dugouts. "Hey Aaron," Tai started.
"What did you mean about the DigiDestined leader comment?"
"That? Oh, well-"
All of a sudden Tai was thrown backwards. He hit the ground with an 'oaf' and a small cloud of dust rose around him. He looked up to see the boy with ice blue eyes and flaming red hair with two other boys backing him.
Aaron helped Tai as he glared at the boy. "What was that for Daniel?" Aaron snapped.
"Who're you?" Daniel snapped.
"His name's Tai-" Aaron started.
Daniel shoved him. "I wasn't talking to you. You don't look like you're from around here. Where are you from?"
"Japan," Tai replied.
"What was that?" Daniel snapped. "What's wrong with the way you speak?"
"It's called an accent, Danny," Aaron replied calmly. "He's from Japan."
"He's a Jap?" Daniel asked eyebrows raised. "I really don't take too well to newcomers around here." He pushed Tai again. Tai didn't do anything to fight back. "Come on you pansy! Fight back."
Tai didn't fight back. Instead Aaron stepped between him and Daniel. "That's enough. Leave him alone."
"What? The stupid Jap can't defend himself?" Daniel barked.
"I said that's enough!" Aaron growled.
"Who's gonna make me stop? You?" Daniel laughed.
"Hey, guys. What'cha up too?" Tera asked as she stepped between the two groups of feuding boys. "Oh, hello Danny-boy," she said in a slightly less enthusiastic.
"Get of here Tera!" Daniel yelled.
"Maybe I don't want to." She latched on to Aaron's arm and rested her head on Aaron's shoulder.
It looked like Daniel cringed at the sight. "Let's go," he grumbled to the boys backing him up.
"But Daniel," one of them protested.
"Let's go," he ordered sharply. They left.
"Come on, let's go. Your coach has been calling you," Tera said as she pulled on Aaron's arm.
Tai stared at the five dollar bill in his hand. Tera had given it to him when they had gotten back to the house. He stuck it in his drawer and glanced out the window. It was dark, but so much more beautiful then during the day. He had escaped the lights of the city and the stars shone brightly through the night. He leaned partly out the window and sighed.
"Hey Tai." The voice startled him so bad he jumped and hit his head on the window. He leaned a little farther out and looked up as he rubbed his head. Aaron looked down at him with a huge grin on his face. "Sorry, didn't think you were that jumpy."
"What are you doing out there?" Tai asked.
"Thinking. Come out and join me." Tai shrugged and climbed out from the windowsill. He pulled himself out onto the roof beside Aaron. Tai looked around and just saw black desert, a little forest, and even darker mountains. "Nice, huh?"
"Very," Tai replied. They sat in silence for a while. Aaron laid back with his hand behind his head staring up into the black, diamond studded desert sky. Tai had his knees up and his arms draped over them. "So, you're the American DigiDestined leader?"
"Yep. Surprising as it seems," he replied lazily.
"Surprisingly?" Tai asked.
"Well, I can actually mean that two ways. The first would be slightly more obvious to you. I mean, when you were eleven could you have imagined that you would have to lead a group of kids through a huge world. The fate of two worlds rested in your hands and it was up to you to be the decision maker. It was hard for me to believe."
"Yeah, I know how that is. The stress nearly killed me a few times." A knowing silence passed between the two. "And second?"
"Why are you here?" Aaron asked as his answer.
Tai glanced over at Aaron, but found the black haired boy was still looking at the sky. "What do you mean?"
"Why won't your crest glow?"
"Because I lost my courage."
"You have the crest of courage? That's cool. Mine's endurance. So how'd you lose your courage?"
"My parents died. It was a couple months after the Digital World. They were murdered in a robbery gone wrong. I ran."
"Oh. Man, I'm sorry," Aaron said as he sat up.
"Nah, its okay. It just hurts to know I'm still here and they're not. Just to know that I don't deserve to be here. My parents stayed so the guy wouldn't come after me and my sister and they died. I hate living. It really messed Kari up." Aaron gave him a 'look'. "Me too, I guess."
"Funny how you can lose your greatest trait in one night; in one horrible incident its gone," Aaron sighed.
"You never answered my question. What was the second thing?"
"Well, there are a lot of things that make up number two. I as a person, or at least then, was not a fighter. I was not a leader. I was a geek to be blunt. I was a skinny dorky, "never-touched-a-piece-of-sports-equipment-in-my-life" nerd." He chuckled at this. "I didn't have friends, I wasn't liked, and I couldn't demand respect from anyone. People like Elijah were all over me beating me up."
"Guys in wheelchairs beat you up?" Tai asked.
"He was a jock at the time. He played sports; he wasn't paralyzed. I had suffered so much in my life with all the beatings and the jokes and teasing. I hated my life."
"So you endured way too much crap and you shut down?" Tai asked.
"Yep. I shut down after we came back from the Digital World. Seeing how I couldn't even make friends with the people I was destined to fight along side with I gave up. I didn't care. I even stopped being a dork. Then I came here and I made friends. At first with Tera and she had me get to know her brother who was in the wheelchair then. I got to know Natalie after she and Elijah started going out."
"Elijah is Tera's brother?"
"Step, but their close enough to be real."
"What about Taylor?"
"No one can get to Taylor. She doesn't let anyone near her except Tera. Natalie's been trying to help and Taylor seems to like her, but as far as the rest of us, the guys, she won't come near us. She's gotten better, but she still doesn't talk."
"I'm not sure exactly. No one tells me," Aaron chuckled. It was a lie, but he was sure Taylor wouldn't want him to tell Tai. They sat in silence and Tai laid back to look up at the stars. "You deserve to be here, you know."
"If you had stayed and died then you would have been a real coward. If you had stayed then you would have died in a meaningless way. Your sister would have probably died too. That's one more life wasted. Your digimon would have died because he is part of your life force. That's three. Your friends, they would have fallen with no leader. Also considering the leader has the strongest digimon, the worlds could have been lost. So that's nine lives and two worlds. You didn't take the coward's way out. You were smart and protected yourself and your sister." Tai didn't reply. "Is that why you didn't fight Daniel back today? You don't have any courage?"
"I guess. I didn't see any point in fighting back. So what was that guys problem? He doesn't like Japanese people?"
"Yeah, pretty much. He's just a jerk off. Hardly anyone at the baseball field likes him. But no one fights him no matter how much they want to kick his ass."
"He's got connections. He can get anyone he wants kicked out of the league." Aaron stood up and moved toward the edge of the roof. "I'm going to bed. If you stay up to watch the sunrise it's a great show, highly recommended here in Tucson. Just make sure you get a little sleep. Night." He began to climb down.
"Goodnight," Tai called.
Tai padded down the dark hall. He ran his hand over the wall as his guide because it was almost too dark to see. He came to the door he wanted and opened it slowly, hoping it wouldn't creak or make any noise at all. It didn't.
The room was dark and the only sound that came to his ears was light breathing. He moved into the room and sat down on the bottom bunk of the bed to the left. He looked down at the figure.
Kari was asleep. She was on her back, facing up with the thin sheet pulled up to her stomach. One hand was on the bed and the other was under her head.
Tai picked up her hand in his and kissed it lightly. "I'm sorry, Kari," he whispered. He brushed a piece of hair from her face. This was the closest he could bring himself to her. He couldn't talk to her when she was awake because he had so much fear. Fear of failing her again, fear of how she had turned out after so much pain, and fear of her turning away from him in disappointment. He hated himself, but he knew she could hate him more.
Kari, his sister, his light, his world. He loved her so much, but he had failed her so badly.
"I love you." He sighed and kissed her cheek. He stood up and walked toward the door.
As he slipped out he didn't notice the pair of big brown eyes much like his own watching him. "I love you too, Tai," the owner of the eyes whispered as tears flooded her vision.
So what did you think? I thought it was pretty good. Two stories down, eight more to go. Sorry this took so long to get out, but give me a break, I work as fast as I can. Please read and review.
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