Odaiba Memorial Day- 20 Years Later

Chapter Four- Matt

Matt Ishida continued to play the bass line of the new song; another doomed effort to reclaim the fame.

Another rehearsal, another song, Another day in the life of the washed-up fad band.

"Butterfly of endless eases, flying the eternal breezes,
Someday I'll be there, and I'll find you wherever you are.
No more hearing boorish ranting, only music most enchanting.
I know I'll get there, even though it appears from afar.

"But even so… there's too much hatred to let this dream grow.
But still I know… I'll survive just to keep all our wishes alive.

"Here in a world that feels like a dream,
harder now to wake up than it seems.
From this nightmarish tale-

a place where common sense ain't as good as it's hailed.
Though I've got nothing left for today,
all these memories blocking my way.
But I know that we'll be okay, on my love."

Despite the upcoming wild guitar solo the lead guitarist was waiting to hammer, Matt grew steadily impatient, set down his trusty bass guitar, and called the band to a halt.

"Ray, what the hell is this crap??"

"Look Matt, at the rate you’re going, you can’t afford to be picky."

"I hate to break it to you, but nobody’s going to buy this!"

"Do you know any other place to get music? It’s slim pickings, and you’re just damn lucky I talked Mr. Wada into letting you use this."

Once again, the urge to slap Ray upside the face with Matt’s previously written, and thus far unreleased works came and went. Matt just sighed, and began to walk out.

"Hey, Matt, where are you going?" This time, his fellow band members were calling him.

"Look, I’m not quite in the groove today, can we do this some other time?" The others nodded, and began to pack up. Matt lugged his guitar into the hallway, where he was met immediately by Ray.

"What’s going on with you, this is the third time this month you cancelled practice. You aren’t going to get better with old songs and no rehearsal."

"No, we are as good as we are going to get. We aren’t going to get more popular with songs about butterflies!"

"Hey, it worked for Mariah Carey." Matt just remained silent and kept walking. Ray continued to prod Matt for answers.

"Look, what’s been going on with you lately? You’ve never cancelled practice because you didn’t like a song before. There has to be some other explanation."

"Ray… I’m just tired."

"You don’t look tired."

"Yeah, I don’t look tired. I look washed up, finished, past the prime of my life at the age of thirty-one. Great way to live, huh?"

"Now that you mention it, your eyes are a little red."

A decade after the television appearance that changed his life, Matt Ishida faced the obvious problem of going down gracefully. Mimi’s abrupt departure from his life didn’t help things much.


---

 It was a rare day off for Matt Ishida. One day all to himself in the streets of Los Angeles. Mimi didn’t have that fortune, and was busy doing her thing. That left Matt alone with the green in his wallet and the city at his feet. And he lived it up. He didn’t remember exactly what he did during that day, and knowing him that’s probably for the best, but he would never forget what awaited him when he went back to his hotel at 2:00 AM that night. He entered the suite, and was greeted by a somewhat grim Ray, exiting Mimi’s room.

"Ray… you weren’t going through Mimi’s private stuff again, were you? You know she hates that." Having spent the day living life to the fullest, Matt was in a good mood. That was about to change.

"Matt, I don’t really know what to say." Ray’s somber mood immediately spread over to Matt.

"Why, what happened? Where’s Mimi?"

"Well… let’s just say you’ve been dumped. We’ll leave it at that."

"Ray, stop joking around, where’s Mimi?" Ray looked at Matt, paused for a moment, and pulled out a newspaper with Mimi and Joe eating dinner together. He handed it to Matt.

"Best I can tell, Mimi just left you for some dip." Matt immediately looked concerned.

"This isn’t a dip. Well, it is, but the dip’s a friend of ours. His name’s Joe."

"Correction- friend of Mimi’s. Very good friend of Mimi’s. In fact, you might say they’re consummating that friendship as we speak."

"Ray. Listen to me. If Mimi would have done something like run off with Joe, she would have told me. Hell, knowing Joe, he probably would have called me with the details. This isn’t some case of him sweeping her away in the night. She’s not going to just up and leave. I bet you a hundred bucks they come back and we eat breakfast with both of them tomorrow."

"And I bet you she’s out of your life forever."

Sometimes Ray doesn’t quite understand the hell we went through together. After everything that happened, the least she’d do is say goodbye.

But the goodbye never came. Matt felt a bit depressed, which turned into his "blue period" of music. That was Ray’s idea- using this "Hollywood breakup" to sell albums with a slightly less enthusiastic motif. It ended up backfiring, as Yamato fans did not adjust well to the new style. And as fun as it was pretending that he and Mimi were dating, pretending that Mimi had dumped him was equally difficult, especially after Ray decided that they say it was Matt’s fault and have him beg for forgiveness in his music. Matt grew tired of that quickly, and went back to his normal upbeat tunes soon afterwards. But by then, the fad was passing, and it was clear that Yamato had worn out its welcome.

They kept touring, and they kept releasing new music, but the best they managed was a gold record, a far cry from the multi-platinum records Yamato had in it’s hey-day. Matt’s social life wasn’t much better. Of the original four band members that were with Matt in the SNL gig, only one remained, a drummer whom Matt had never had more than a professional association with. Dating wasn’t much either, as Matt had gotten so used to a fake relationship with Mimi that he "lost his touch" and could never manage more than a one-night stand with anyone else.


---

The years came and went. Seven years since Mimi’s departure to be exact. Unlike many washed-up celebrities, Matt was at least careful with his money. The band still turned a slim profit, and his coffers still allowed Matt to live luxuriously when not on tour. But the large seaside resort in San Diego almost seemed too large for one person. Matt frequently perused the walls, adorned with pictures from his glory years. Of him and Mimi’s perfect relationship. They looked so happy together; there wasn’t a hint of it being phony. They were more playful than romantic, and it was just fun.

One of the stranger outcomes about the whole situation was that Matt was practically the only person that didn’t blame Mimi for what she did. The country felt that Mimi left too abruptly, without giving Matt a chance to redeem himself. Even Ray, virtually the only one who knew it was a sham, thought Mimi was a complete idiot for throwing everything away. But Matt felt otherwise. During the relationship, Matt was more inclined to live life to the fullest, ignore the details, and as one of his own songs (still waiting to be produced) suggested- walk the edge of a knife. He wasn’t at the point where he wanted to settle down with one woman. But he knew Mimi wasn’t like that, and as soon as Matt saw Joe and Mimi together, had a feeling something had struck between the two. He had obviously hoped Mimi would give him a two-week’s notice before leaving, or at the very least a "Dear John" letter, but what Mimi chooses to do is her own prerogative. It was behind him, and Matt was okay with that.

But the ride down was certainly hell. Matt was in need for more memories. He wanted to relive the glory days. He entered his study, and reached for a scrapbook highlighting Yamato’s best years. But as he laid a hand on it, he decided to reach over for a different book. One which he hadn’t looked through in the longest time. The memories that started it all, and started him down the path he was currently reaching the end of. He pulled down the book, and the Japanese lettering on it immediately made Matt smile.

The Teenaged Wolves. How long has it been?

Matt took the book to his desk and began to look through it. He got a little ways through it, and was about to pull out one particular newspaper clipping that caught his attention. Unfortunately, Ray Sagan burst through, interrupting Matt’s romp through memory lane.

"Hey Matt, at a time like this, I know exactly what you need."

"Uh, Ray, I’m in the middle of something…"

"Fan mail!" Ray carried in about ten to fifteen envelopes, many of which brightly colored.

"Fan mail? I’m not in the mood to listen to…"

"That’s just it! You should get in the mood. People still care about you. If you aren’t doing this for yourself, at least do it for them. Look at these- here’s one from Minnesota, one from Milwaukee, one from Mississippi… this one’s a gas bill… ooh, Japan, the home land beckons! Matt, I want you to look through each of these and answer them personally, okay? Even the gas bill, they hate it when you get behind on your payments." Matt just stared at Ray, visibly annoyed, but dismissed any anger with a shake of his head.

"I’ll get to it later, okay ? I’m looking through…"

"What is that? A newspaper article?" Ray looked puzzled. Matt smiled and handed it to him. Ray still looked puzzled at the Japanese lettering written vertically down the page.

"You know I can’t read these things. I never studied uh… what do you call them? Hieroglyphics." Matt rolled his eyes and smiled.

"It’s an article from my first televised concert. Back in Japan, with the Teenaged Wolves. Man, those were the days. I think that was a Christmas concert too. I’m surprised it did so well… even with a few interruptions."

"Like?"

"Um. Never mind." As Matt managed to avoid talking about the Digimon attack that interrupted the concert, Ray squinted at a certain section, then pointed it out.

"Hey, Matt, somebody wrote something here. Vandalizing a precious memoir if you ask me. What’s it say?" Ray handed Matt the yellowed document, as Matt tried to make out the red ink, which had almost faded away. When he did make it out, he didn’t know what to think, despite the smile that somehow crept onto his face.

"It says… ‘I hope you liked the cookies.’" Matt continued to smile, although he sensed something of a tear developing, "Sora must have sent this to me the next day. That was also the day we…" Matt found himself unable to continue.

"Hm… Sora… I wonder if…" Matt immediately caught Ray’s drift and laughed.

"I don’t think her husband would be too fond of that. Although he is a pretty nice guy, he probably wouldn’t mind." Fortunately, Ray dismissed that idea before it became too serious.

"Whatever happened between you two?" Ray’s curiosity had been sparked, and there was no avoiding the issue.

"It just… didn’t work."

"No? Did you at least sleep with her?" Matt looked at Ray, a bit annoyed, then smiled slyly.

"Whenever I get asked that I say the same thing. Usually they drop the issue when I say it- ‘Ask TK. He knows.’" Ray looked back at Matt and nodded.

"Well, just get those responses done."

It certainly didn’t work with Sora, but the details of the breakup were still in Matt’s mind. And at a time like this, it something that shouldn’t be remembered.


---

Sora was just minding her own business at the time, but Matt had to ruin the mood by picking Sora up, twirling her around, and topping off the landing with a peck on the lips.

"Jeez Matt, what are you so excited about?" Sora had obviously been caught by surprise, but it was clear she enjoyed it. She did not, however, enjoy the cause of Matt’s excitement.

"Sora, you’re never gonna believe this… it just came out of the blue, I can’t believe it."

"Shut up and tell me what it is already!" Sora’s smile beamed with anticipation.

"Sora… I just got a call from a record producer in America. They want the band to play over there. They say we can really be successful if we play our cards right. I guess…" Matt was about to go into the details when he saw Sora’s smile turn upside-down.

"You’re moving?"

"Why not? It’s a great opportunity. And besides, we can see all the sights traveling the country. Sounds great, doesn’t it?"

"What do you mean we? I’m not ready to just get up and leave."

"Well, Sora, it wouldn’t be any fun without you. I need you... I love you."

"Matt I love you too, but I can’t just leave my family and friends to do this with you. How do you know it’ll work out?"

"I’ll be fine, I get an experienced manager working with me and everything. Sora, this is my dream. This is the big break I’ve been waiting for."

"You always told me that the band was just a hobby. You always said that you were going to still have a normal job, and the band was just for fun. You always had those other dreams. What happened to that interest in astronomy? You kept going on about how you wanted to see the stars." Sora was growing sadder, and Matt continued to try to improve her mood.

"I can see the stars in L.A.!!"

"Matt, you aren’t listening to me. I can’t leave. I have too many friends here, and my mom’s counting on me to carry on the shop. I’m not going to leave her, or Tai, or…

"Tai?" The obvious concern came across Matt’s face, but Sora continued.

"..or Izzy, or Kari, or Yolei, or all of our other friends. I love you more than anybody else, but I do not love you more than everybody else combined."

"Sora, I…"

"I don’t think you should be doing something like this anyway. Why can’t we just keep going with our plans? We’re graduating soon, and I want to be with you then, and for years to come."

"Sora, you don’t know what this means to me." Sora was almost in tears.

"Matt, you don’t know how much you mean to me. I can’t stand to watch you throw everything away and move to a foreign country just for your band. It’s your decision, but if you go through with it… I don’t want any part of it." That was Sora’s final argument, as she walked off abruptly, trying to hide her tears.

The Ishida residence wasn’t any more helpful. Matt entered to what would have been a surprise if it didn’t happen every other day. On the couch were TK and Kari, seated very politely and upright, smiling brightly at Matt.

"Hi Matt, home so soon?" TK sounded awfully chirpy.

"We weren’t doing anything!" Kari was equally bubbly, and Matt couldn’t help but smile. The television was off, the lights were off, and anybody with half a brain could tell what was going on.

"Nice try you two." Matt smirked, "Oh, and you’ve got a little lipstick on your cheek TK." TK sheepishly brushed it off as Matt continued, "What are you doing here anyway?"

"Mom’s been working at home, so it’s harder to…" Kari quickly elbowed TK in the stomach and smiled at Matt.

"No reason!" Kari finished answering for TK. Matt slumped down into a recliner, the novelty of the situation having passed through his veins. He sighed, dejectedly.

"What’s wrong, Matt?" Matt’s younger brother asked, visibly trying to change the subject.

"What do you do when you have to choose between your girlfriend and your dreams?" TK, having just concluded a lip wrestling match with Kari Kamiya, was not attuned to the severity of the question.

"Let her go, follow your dreams, go bowling!" Kari chuckled.

"What’s going on with you and Sora?" Kari finally posed the serious response Matt was looking for.

"She’s all uptight because I got an offer to move the band to America and make it big there."

"Really? The Wolves in the US? Cool!"

"Well, it’s good to know you’re on my side TK, but Sora wants nothing to do with it."

"I don’t blame her," Kari began, "you’d be so far apart from each other. There’s no way you could hold a relationship together."

"Yeah but… this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for…"

"Look, Sora will understand, if you have to do it, go for it." TK’s response started to anger Kari.

"TK, if something came up and you had to leave me, would you do it?"

"Well, uh… if it was for something really big, like something I always wanted to do… probably. It wouldn’t be fun, but we’d make it work, right?"

Kari looked down for a second, sighed, and walked out of the apartment. TK quickly chased after her in his apologetic mode.

Great. It’s spreading. What’s next, Ken and Yolei?

The phone rang soon afterwards. Matt answered, and heard Ray’s voice for the first time. After a long period of badgering by Ray, Matt was forced to settle on a decision.

"Sure, I’ll do it. I have to straighten a few things out first, but I’m in."

I’m sure Sora will come around.

Needless to say, Sora never did come around. Sora refused to talk to Matt for a couple weeks afterwards, and Matt eventually was turned off by her stubbornness. Fortunately, times like these were when having a friend like Tai proved to be a huge necessity. Like any good friend would, he got Matt and Sora together in a room, locked the door, and forced the two to talk it out.

"Sora, I’m going to kill Tai."

"Knowing you, you’ll move before you get the chance."

"Sora, just listen to me."

"Listen to what? You’re just abandoning me. And Tai, and everybody else who cares about you."

"I gave you the chance to come with me."

"Yeah, but what about everybody else?" They had had this argument already. Neither were budging. It was time for Sora to throw in the towel.

"Look, Matt, do you just want to call it quits?"

"What do you mean?"

"You’re going to be leaving the country pretty soon. And I completely disagree with that. But I can’t stop you. Just do what you need to do, okay? But if we’re going to have an argument like this, and if we are going to be separated, I think it’s just best that we…"

"Break up?" Sora started sniffling at the thought.

"Is there any other option?" Sora started to bend down, and began crying. Matt put a hand on her shoulder.

"I’m not going to forget about you, okay? Just as long as you’re there with all the other guys cheering me on." Sora looked at Matt, then immediately jumped into an embrace, the last one they would ever share as lovers.

"I’m going to miss you Matt." Matt continued to rest a comforting hand on the back of Sora’s head and neck.

"Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. One of these days, you’re going to make a guy really happy."

"Matt…"

"Just remember, there’s plenty of bishonen in the sea." Sora smiled weakly, and Tai decided that the treatment had done what it could, and that Sora and Matt could be freed to continue with life.


---

I gave up Sora for this. Right now, she’s off making that one guy really happy, while I’m here going nowhere. Is this worth it? I could have been living happy with a woman I used to love, but instead I’m here…

"Hey Matt, wake up!" Ray startled Matt, and lifted him from his daydream. Once Matt was good and awake, Ray continued, "Keep going with these letters, we don’t want to keep…" Ray reached for a letter to drive his point home, "Hida Cody waiting, do you? Hmm… his last name’s Cody and his first name’s Hida? Weird people you Japs are." Ray left, and Matt immediately dove for the envelope from Cody. This was especially strange, since he and Cody never really had that much of an association together.

A Reunion. Everybody’s getting back together for a party? The whole group. Tai and Izzy, TK and Kari… Mimi and Sora. What the hell, I need to get out of this rut. So I bump into Mimi again, what’s the harm in that? I want to see Mimi, I’m dying to see Mimi. And everybody else too. Heck, maybe I can work Kari and Yolei and become the first person to be dumped by all four female digi-destined. Or not. I need this right now. Better make some flight plans. But first… these damn fan letters.

Matt was reading his response to a devoted fan out loud when Ray re-entered the room.

"I’m sorry you felt I was misleading you Tyrone, but I do not swing that way, nor am I interested in experimenting. I do, however, appreciate all of my fans, and am glad you took the time to write me. Enclosed is an autographed glossy. Thanks a bunch, Matt Ishida."

"Wow. You handled that one nicely." Matt handed Ray the completed response.

"There are a lot of very strange people out there. But fans are fans right?"

"Sure are."

"But really now… why would anybody think I’m gay?" Ray looked Matt over, then quickly changed the subject.

"Well, it looks like your mood improved. I told you those letters help out."

"Actually, Ray, it wasn’t the fanmail, I got an invitation to meet up with some old friends back in Japan. Heck, I bet Mimi will even be there. I can’t wait to go."

"When’s this?"

"In a couple weeks. I should only be gone for a few days." Ray pulled out his scheduling book, and immediately shook his head.

"Sorry, I was going to keep it a surprise, but I got you a walk-on role for a new movie. No real acting involved though. Just go up on a stage, play some stupid jazz tune, and leave. The publicity should be really hot though."

"Oh, just cancel it, this is big."

"No can do. I gave verbal commitment on this." Matt grew increasingly angry and stepped out from behind his desk.

"Ray, this is important to me."

"I think you need to get your priorities straight. The reason nobody buys your stuff is because they’ve forgotten about you. They see you on the big screen, see you’re still alive, and will want to check you out again. It’s the stuff comebacks are made of."

Matt hesitated. A comeback? He could be back on the high road, living as a celebrity, living out his dream. He knew he could make this one last if he played his cards right. It was a second chance at stardom. A second chance at his dreams.

Wait… here I am again. On one hand, I have the opportunity to see all of my old friends, and get caught up on everybody. It’s something I need right now in my state. But on the other hand, I could get back into the business with this. I know I can make it work this time around, and without Mimi to worry about, it would be easier to control this time around. It’s the same decision… my career or my friends? I’m not going to make this mistake again.

"Matt, just forget about all of that Japan stuff, because I know that together we can…" Ray was never able to complete his sentence. He was met by Matt’s fist, connecting with Ray’s cheek. Ray went down immediately, and anybody else in the room would have been able to see Matt smile, and calmly walk over to the telephone, to dial a convenient toll-free number.

"Hi, how much for a round-trip ticket from San Diego to Tokyo? First-class of course. Okay, sounds good. The name?" Matt looked at Ray, then turned back, "Ishida Yamato."

 

Author’s Notes
Admit it, you cheered when Matt slugged Ray across the face. Lapsing into melodrama I know, but Ray’s virtually the only antagonist in this entire series (no… Sora’s husband is not a bad guy) so he had to get what was coming to him. Since he may not appear for the rest of the series, he had to get his licks now.

As mentioned before in my notes at the beginning, the flashback featuring Matt and Sora’s breakup was done simply because I felt it was something that needed to be addressed. This chapter was also running a bit dry without it. Although I’m not a Sorato fan, I don’t hate it, and I really wanted to try my hand at writing a breakup between them, which is arguably harder than writing a fic where two people get together. I think it turned out pretty well, and I could draw from it in the chapter’s climax, so I think it’s a worthy addition to the chapter, if not the best part. However, for the record, Matt has gotten over the breakup with Sora, and there won’t be any tension between the two at the reunion. Matt’s big regret was not about losing Sora, it was making the decision to leave Sora. Sora will have bigger problems at the reunion (probably more than any of the other eleven), and Matt still having a thing for her is the last thing she needs!

I suppose I can let you in on the sick joke if you hadn’t realized it already- the song Matt was singing was a translated version of "Butterfly," the 01 opening theme song. Again, I wrote the translated lyrics. Although I don’t think they’re bad, I’ve certainly had better. TK’s song "Be All Right" can stand up to most lyrics they’ve got today.

I hope I don’t upset all you Taito fans with that letter-writing scene. I’m not a fan of Taito, but am perfectly knowledgeable of all those hints the Japanese version of 01 inserts. I don’t think Matt’s gay- but you certainly couldn’t tell just by looking at him!

Anyway, with one of our four plots two-thirds done, let’s start a new one!
Chapter Five- Davis
Sometimes it's just best to put it out of your head. When something's troubling you, it's sometimes better not to see it at all, especially when someone you love is "taken off the market." But after a series of events, Davis discovers that Kari has moved in down the street- with her husband. Meetings are unavoidable, especially between three friends. But Davis's fixation with Kari is steadily growing unhealthy: to the point where he himself can't control it, to the point where it's affecting his daily life... and to the point where Kari's sympathy only makes matters worse.