A Life For A Life

By: Callisto


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A/N: Everyone’s OOC, and Matt and Sora are probably the worst. Don’t mind that. And if you can’t deal with that fact that I kill off the main character, who is also my fave, then don’t read this.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Digimon, this story is non-profit, so please don’t sue me. I think you’ll be able to tell what parts of the story are wholly mine.
Rating: PG13/R
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“Tai, you’re always playing the big hero, and you know what? I’m sick of it!” Matt shouted, fists clenched. “Come on, TK. We’re leaving.” With that, he turned around.
“But Matt-” TK began.
“Come on, TK.” Matt growled forcefully. He began walking, a worried Gabumon at his heels. TK looked close to tears, but, nonetheless, he followed his brother loyally. With a sad glance at the rest of the DigiDestined, Patamon flapped after the other three.
Gabumon repeatedly looked back over his shoulder as he walked, and finally Matt sighed and asked, “What is it, Gabumon?”
“I don’t think this is such a good idea, Matt,” Gabumon replied.
“Well, you can go back and hang around with those losers,” this was said loud enough to carry back to where the rest of the group was, intended to anger Tai, “or you can come with me. Well? Make up your mind.”
Gabumon looked up at his irritated friend; he glanced behind him and saw Patamon sitting on the head of a sniffling TK and, further back, the rest of the group, who were quite stunned, and a steamed Taichi. The digimon finally nodded and muttered, “I’m going to stay with you, Matt.”
“Good,” Matt said forcefully, and strode ahead.
“Fine!” Tai shouted. “Be that way! We’ll see how far you get without the rest of up to help you when you screw up!”
Sora glared at him. “Tai, we need to stick together!”
Tai snorted. “Yeah? Tell that to Mr. ‘I’m too cool to hang around with the people who’ve saved my life.’ He’s the one who just walked out on us.”
Sora pursed her lips and sprinted after Matt.
“What’s she doing?” Joe asked curiously. Gomamon shrugged.
“Matt! Wait! Stop!” Sora called.
Matt stopped walking, but kept his back to her. “What do you want, Sora?’
“Matt, you can’t leave,” she said.
“Can’t I?” he countered, turning to face her.
“We’re a team, we need to stay in a group; please come back,” Sora pleaded. “Do it for TK. Look at how scared he is. You shouldn’t have yelled, and you shouldn’t have left. We all need each other. Matt, please.”
Tai realised what Sora was attempting, but he was too furious at Matt to see the logic in this.
“Hey, if he doesn’t want to stay, fine! We don’t want his company!” Tai yelled.
“See? They don’t want me around; there’s no reason for me to stay.” Matt said icily. He turned to leave once more.
Sora turned to glare at Tai as Matt started to walk off. She darted forward and grabbed Matt’s wrist, forcing him to halt.
“Hey! Sora, let go!” he demanded. Yanking his arm from Sora’s grasp, Matt sprinted away, TK and Gabumon trying to keep up.
For a moment, Sora was undecided. Then she began to run after Matt. After all, Tai would cool down pretty quickly, and she might be able to talk some sense into Matt.
Tai stared after them, astonished.
“Don’t worry, I’m staying with you guys!” Mimi said.
“Thanks, we really appreciate it,” Tentomon said dryly.

After what seemed like an hour, Matt slowed and finally stopped to lean against a tree while he caught his breath. His feet ached, his legs ached, his lungs ached, and both his heart and his head were pounding. Matt slid down to the ground as Gabumon, TK, Patamon, Sora, and Biyomon bounded into view.
“Matt! Are you okay?” TK cried, running to his brother.
“I’m alright, TK, but man, do I have a killer headache,” Matt moaned. He looked up and saw Sora, and was suddenly very defensive. “Why did you follow us?” he asked, glaring up at her.
“I came because you’d never survive out here on your own,” Matt opened his mouth to say something, but Sora went on before he could interrupt, “And because I’m going to force some sense into that head of yours.”
“Yeah, well I don’t need your help, Sora. Just leave me alone.”
TK looked shocked. “But… Matt… Sora and Tai and all the others are our friends!”
Matt didn’t answer. He knew TK was right, but he couldn’t admit that. Not after that big scene he made earlier. And besides, he was still mad at that ass, Taichi.
Matt stood and resumed traveling in his previous direction, but at a much more reasonable, ie. slower pace. His companions quickly fell into step alongside him.
“So where are we going?” TK asked.
“I don’t know, and, frankly, I don’t care, as long as it’s away from Tai.” Matt said coldly. He avoided making eye contact with anyone, trying to hide his own feelings of personal doubt. True, he really did hate Tai at that moment, but, as he himself had once said, Tai was their leader. Without him, everyone fell apart. Like it or not, none of the DigiDestined could survive without Tai. And Matt definitely did not like it.
He quickened his pace slightly, but immediately had to slow back down because his headache was worsening.
Sora looked at him closely. “Matt, are you sure you’re alright? You don’t look too good.” Biyomon and Gabumon had to agree with her.
“I’m fine.” Matt lied.
Sora sighed. Stubborn, she thought. “Yeah, sure,” she said doubtfully.
Matt gritted his teeth and pressed on determinedly.

<><><>

TK tugged at the hem of his older brother’s shirt. “I’m tired, and hungry,” he whined.
“And it is getting dark, Matt,” Sora pointed out.
“I guess we can stop for the night.” Matt relented.
“Yea!” cheered TK and Patamon.

<><><>

Yamato sat between the sleeping forms of TK and Gabumon, staring into the fire. He suddenly looked up at the trees. Maybe it was just the moon, or the firelight, but the trees looked ghostly and pale. Matt shivered.
“You’re just imagining things,” he told himself. “This whole Digiworld thing has you way too stressed out. Relax, just chill.” He looked around nervously, as if an evil Digimon were just going to pop out of nowhere.
“There’s no reason to get so freaked out, man,” he said to himself quietly, looking for some small bit of reassurance.
Why am I so paranoid all of a sudden? he thought, perplexed.
Matt glanced at his watch, which was strapped on beneath his glove. Still a while before he had to wake Sora for the next shift. He sure wished he could wake up Gabumon to talk to, or play his harmonica, but that wouldn’t be fair to the others. They needed their sleep, too.
Patamon stirred and woke up, turning over to see who was on watch. “Hi, Matt,” he whispered.
“Hey, Patamon,” Matt replied, looking relieved.
Patamon tilted his head. “Is something wrong, Matt?”
‘Why does everyone keep asking me if something’s wrong?” Matt asked, irritated.
“Because we’re your friends, and we’re worried. Gabumon’s been awful quiet.” Patamon said, studying Matt carefully.
“I’m fine, really,” Matt said gently.
Patamon yawned and looked around. “Hey, where are we?” he whispered.
“I don’t really know. Do you have any idea?” Matt asked Patamon, his head slightly tilted.
“No, I’m sorry, but I don’t. Gabumon might, though.” Patamon said apologetically.
“Well, I’m not about to ask him until tomorrow. We all need our fair share of sleep.” Matt said decisively. Patamon yawned again and floated off into Digi-dreamland. Matt looked at his watch again and stood up so he wouldn’t accidentally fall asleep on guard duty. Almost automatically, he began to slip off to find a place to play his harmonica, then caught himself. He settled back down and tried not to look at the unearthly trees. The rest of his shift seemed to drag on and on, and it felt like an eternity had passed when he finally woke Sora for her shift. Matt’s dreams were uneasy and full of evil digimon slipping in and out of the washed-out trees, taunting him.
Matt awoke with a start. The sky held the darkness characteristic of shortly before dawn. He sat up and saw that Gabumon was on watch.
“Hey,” he said softly to Gabumon, who just looked at him. “What?” asked Matt, frowning.
“Why did you have to do that, Matt?” Gabumon asked quietly.
“Do what?”
“Why did you have to shoot your mouth off at Tai like that? Now we’re lost and hungry, and, worst of all, alone. What does that say about you as the holder of the Crest of Friendship?” Gabumon exploded, but his tone was so quiet that Matt could barely hear him.
“Look, Gabu, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking; I was angry, okay?” Matt hissed defensively.
“No, you weren’t thinking, were you?” Gabumon shouted in accusation. “Otherwise you would have listened to Sora and stayed with the others!”
By this time everyone else was wide awake (and wide-eyed, in TK’s case) and staring at the two of them. Matt felt a blush spread across his cheeks.
TK was looking back and forth between Matt and Gabumon.
“Well, since we’re all up now, let’s get moving.” Matt growled, pretending to ignore everyone’s stares. He stood.
“Hey, Matt, where are we going?” TK asked. When his older brother didn’t answer, he finally realized that Matt didn’t have the slightest idea. That scared him. Matt was always in control, always knew what do to, and now he had no idea, and Takeru was frightened by this.
Matt began to walk away, and TK dashed after him.
After several minutes of trying to keep up with Matt’s determined-- or possibly forced?-- pace, Sora decided to confront him.
“Did you stop to think about what consequences your decision might have?” she asked quietly, trying to look into the shielded blue eyes; the ones that were constantly avoiding her own probing eyes, the ones that seemed so perpetually devoid of any feeling at all.
“Look, Sora, I know I messed up, okay? You don’t have to lecture me.” He quickened his already swift pace, leaving Sora behind him, staring at his back in disbelief.
TK was taking three steps to every one of his brother’s, but he was still able to talk and laugh with Patamon under the watchful eyes of Gabumon, their other self-appointed guardian angel.
“Sora, don’t get your feathers ruffled over Matt. He needs to work this out himself.” Biyomon advised.
Sora smiled. “Thanks, Biy. I’ll try to remember that.” Every time I feel like killing him on this stupid ‘trek’. she added silently.
Matt glanced over his shoulder at TK and slowed down quite a bit. Poor TK, he thought. I never should have told him to come with me.
But you did,
another part of his mind argued, scolding. He doesn’t need to be lost and practically alone.
He would have followed me anyway, whether I told him to or not.
Matt shot back in an attempt to make himself feel better. It didn’t work.
He looks up to you, trusts you; he thinks the world of you, Yamato. He wouldn’t just let you go somewhere and leave him behind. yet another part agreed.
Matt sighed. Maybe so, but that wasn’t his biggest problem. They were lost. And it was his fault. And he was too much of a hot-head to go back and make up with Tai.
Matt sighed again and stopped walking.
“Huh? Why did we stop?” TK asked, looking at his brother. Matt frowned slightly, which didn’t really lessen his headache, but it felt a little better.
“Because we’re all tired and I need to get my bearings.” he replied. The real reason he had stopped was because the pain of his headache was getting so bad he couldn’t turn his head without a wave of dizziness washing over him, but he wasn’t about to admit that, especially in front of Takeru.
“Okay!” the child said brightly. He didn’t notice Sora glancing worriedly at Matt, then at Gabumon. They hadn’t said one word to each other since that morning’s outburst.
“TK, come sit with us,” Biyomon said, patting the ground next to her and Patamon. TK bounced over with Gabumon dogging his footsteps. Sora followed quietly, lost in thought. Soon TK was having a very noisy conversation with the Digimon, who were being rather silly for his benefit.
Matt had sank down against a tree and closed his eyes. He opened them slightly and, rather irritably, said, “Can you guys pipe down?”
“Matt, what’s wrong?” Sora asked.
Nothing, I just have a headache, okay?” he growled.
Sora blinked, taken aback. “Sure. TK, Patamon, Biyomon, Gabumon, try to be a little quieter.” she advised them. TK was happily oblivious of his brother’s discomfort and agitation, but Sora couldn’t stop wondering what was wrong.
Matt shut his eyes, as if this would somehow shut out the throbbing pain. At home, the headaches were a minor bother, nothing too bad, but ever since they had arrived in the Digiworld, they had steadily grown more frequent and more intense, until it was like right now-- the only reprieve came with sleep, and day was constant torture. For TK, he would pretend nothing was wrong; he would laugh and smile and all that, but it was just a front.
He had to be strong for Takeru-- if he didn’t, who would? Yamato would trust any of the DigiDestined with his own life, even Taichi, but he couldn’t entrust Takeru to anyone, with the exceptions of Patamon and Gabumon. Matt would give his own life for his precious little brother.
He must have dozed off, for when he woke, it was evening and there was a fire going. The others had their backs to him, silhouetted against the fire, and were eating some sort of fruit. The intense pain of the migraine hit him with a renewed vigour and a wave of nausea.
Sora looked behind her and smiled gently. “Good, you’re up. Do you want something to eat?”
Matt began to shake his head, but thought better of it. “No, I’m not hungry,” he said softly. Sora nodded and turned back to the fire. Matt stood slowly and cautiously, trying not to be overwhelmed by dizziness caused by his headache. He walked a short distance away from the others and pulled out the harmonica. He put it to his lips and began to play a soft, soulful melody. The music spoke volumes of pain borne in silence and an aching soul, these emotions so subtle in the chords that they would be dismissed by the untrained ear.
Matt heard a quiet rustling behind him and stopped playing. He turned to see Biyomon.
“I’m sorry if I interrupted, but I’ve been wanting to ask you a question,” the pink bird said doubtfully.
Matt raised an eyebrow. “Shoot.”
“Why is your music so sad? Aren’t you happy to be with your friends?” she asked.
Matt was silent for a while, contemplating this question and what he should answer. “Well... I don’t really know. I play what feels right and I play what I feel.” he said thoughtfully.
Biyomon looked confused. “Oh,” she said, befuddled. “Okay.” She slipped back to the others and the mournful notes once again tentatively filled the evening silence with a drifting tune.


Section 2