|The Price One Must Pay
Author: reminiscent-afterthought PM
Frontier-verse. They find that everything comes at a price. With interest attached.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Chapters: 6 - Words: 7,086 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 09-03-11 - Published: 08-27-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7327254
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
And that's the end. *Sniffs* I rather enjoyed this fic, once I got it going.
So…what's left to say. A big thank you to everyone who stuck through this fic, and an extra one to those who threw out their ideas.
This in isn't quite as spot on with canon as the others, namely because Kouichi doesn't spend enough time in the spotlight and turns out to be a bit of an enigma. So this is just my interpretation. Or one of them to be honest.
The Price One Must Pay
Frontier-verse. They find that everything comes at a price. With interest attached.
Part 6 of 6: Kouichi
He was always rather perceptive, even as a child. He supposed it was because of the constant input of stimuli; his mother had, for as long as he could remember, been working hard and long, spending only a few hours in the afternoon at home with him once he started school before going off to a night shift. Till he was old enough to stay home alone, he would remain in the company of his grandparents who were most supportive of the single mother and her son but had problems of their own, and various work colleagues when their hours did not coincide with Tomoko's herself. Every person was different in their own right, but he found himself paying close attention to the subtle difficulties. Simple, sometimes almost mundane things, but things that tied people closer with their environment, took them further. Things that brought a smile to their lips, or tears to their eyes. Little subtleties, testing the waters with the barest toe before knowing where to proceed and where to tread around with caution.
Kids tended to develop a perceptual set based on the environment they spend the first few years of their life within. He wasn't quite sure what was the cementing factor; perhaps he had enough different comparisons at a young age to apply the child's resolution that smiles and laughs solve everything, and then focus on what triggered them. Whatever it was, it had always been natural for him to pick up the intricacies of a person's behaviour, prompting his mother to tease him sometimes about growing up to be a psychologist. Not that it was a bad profession per say. He had seriously considered it for a time.
That's essentially what brought him to the Digital World. The final piece of the puzzle being revealed to him, and disproportionating the image that had been built up.
When he first saw his father and brother, there was already an inner prejudice. Naturally, his mind was quick to seek out evidence; he didn't deny that there were times where he failed to be objective and reserve judgement. But he also noticed the cold aloofness of the boy almost antisense to himself, the inner shadow that lurked with the elder man as he attempted to instigate some discipline in a boy who was resolved to remain apart and alone, yet at the same time longing for comfort of companionship.
That was a boy who pushed himself away from friends and family. That was a boy afraid of losing more. But that was also a boy who had a life he took for granted.
It was a complicated situation, to be honest. Moving from the continuum, parts of him were scattered all over the place. He wondered whether it was worth trying to bring a family broken apart together, whether it would even accomplish anything; sure, it would bring a smile to his mother's face, but for how long? He didn't think they'd be forcefully separated; he could tell his father felt the same strength, simply not as prominent as he wasn't worked as hard and thus had a harder wall to hide behind. But who knew what sorts of barriers fate would toss.
And then there was the awkwardness of connecting two people who did not remember each other at all.
He wasn't a social person. He wasn't going to take some random stranger off the streets telling him he was his brother well at all. But then, how was he supposed to do it?
Another problem: not having the answers tended to eat away at him. It bothered him. It weighed on his mind more than it should have. But he kept it all inside, not wanting others to suffer his own plague. Perhaps it was selfless, perhaps selfish. But it was a mass of mixed up thoughts, emotions and perceptions taking root within himself.
The darkness segregated them. In the darkness, where there was no light, no smiles, no laughter, no happiness, it was easy for the negativity to come out. It was easy for Cherubimon to sense it, warp it, use it. It was easy to create Duskmon, and numb that pain that came with an overload which one knew not what to do with.
The slightest prick of his subconsciousness, or perhaps it was his heart, brought him pain. In the end, it broke him down. It defeated Velgemon, the monstrous vulture who ceased to perceive anything save its insatiable hunger for death. It defeated Duskmon, the empty void who still felt the echoes of a human heart. It defeated him, someone who had torn himself across selflessness and selfishness. Someone who saw too much, felt too much, read too much, but said and did too little.
There wasn't a need to keep quiet eventually. There wasn't a way. In a world where every battle was a part of war, everything came out. Barriers fell. Hurdles were cleared. Awkwardness eradicated. Things flew by so fast, they almost seemed like a blue. But there were lessons, memories, feelings in them all. Little things sometimes, sometimes they took time to see and understand, as heart and head battled each other. Sometimes, they took the help of somebody else. But everything fell together. Why this all had happened. Why it had to happen. And what would need to happen next, if everything was to succeed. And therein was his power. His strength. Not fighting with arms or body or weapons, but seeing where one's weaknesses lay, where one's advantages were.
In that split second, when the two orbs were about to collide into one, the entire story, the entire puzzle, was mapped before him in astounding clarity. And that was what it had taken.
Afterwards, things didn't really change for a time, although they weren't fighting for their lives and the lives of others. That experience had brought them closer than ever, but time was infallible, and so were other things. People changed. Circumstances changed. Nothing ever stayed the same.
As he was, he always payed attention to the smaller details. It was innate. It was just who he was to pick up the little hints.
So when one of his mother's friends startled him with a surprise party, despite the almost secretive air he had somehow failed to realise, despite being startled, he was worried as well.
Others would think he was being silly, but there was always that little fear of Velgemon buried. Sometimes sensing little things that were insignificant to others, like the little greyness in the clouds to tell him it was going to rain soon, or the little chirps that said there were many little friends jumping about the grass, or that this mention of purple linked back to patriarchal origins…so when he read the poem in his hand over and over and failed to understand his meaning, he found himself more afraid than he had ever been in his life. Even more so than when he had stared death in the face. Even more so than when his world had shattered around him.
His dreams turned to a heavy fog of black that gave nothing but rest, if even that. Many were actually pleased with the change, those who did not know him. He was more 'normal' in their view; the keenness, quietness, and outward mystery and almost mystic air associated had been a little unnerving to them.
Those closer however were concerned about the change.
The teacher eventually had to take the unmarked paper away from him and note the top. He was startled; that was obvious. But when he called him to his office to explain, he really couldn't say.
Obviously, his Sensei couldn't let it go. And it hadn't been the first time either. Nor was it the last, or the only thing. Method was fine, it was the deeper level of understanding that was suffering. 'Perhaps he has just burnt himself out,' the school counsellor offered. 'Reached the limit of his understanding.'
Perhaps, after reaching the peak in the darkness.
In the end, he withdrew almost completely. He adjusted his classes, dropping literature completely which no longer held pleasure after the fun of digging deep and interpreting was lost with that inability, picking up classes instead that didn't require those nuances of understanding but rather mundane repetition. It would be okay for a little while, but what would happen with the higher levels of understanding? And it wasn't just that. He communicated less, contributed less, almost as if he was pulling away. Initially, they wondered if it was because he was afraid of hurting them. Perhaps it was that, for a time. But that was a surface beneath which they would eventually have to look.
He had always been quiet, introverted. But at least he had been there.
Post Author's Notes
Here's the explanation for Kouichi, seeing as it's a little obscure.
Darkness represents yin, and yang and yin are used in the I Ching, where solid lines represent yang and broken lines represent yin. The I Ching (Book of Change) is a mode of divination, which is supposed to give awareness of the future. Darkness also highlights light (can't see light if no darkness) and in addition goes further, so while light represents knowledge, darkness represents wisdom, a deeper sense of perception, etc. Sleeping is a representation of darkness, and dreams are enlightening, linking together the bits of the puzzle to give a full picture. See where I went with this? I could go on, but I think I'll bore you all.
There is a reason I put this one at the end. Note that perception actually entails the other five, just like darkness entails the other elements. You know, the whole from darkness came everything thing. And darkness as much as perception and to an extent Kouichi himself are enigmas, they are also a little paradoxical. It was so hard to squeeze it into the allocated space; it went a third over.
Here's a quick summary, to anyone who got lost.
Takuya – loss of speech.
Kouji – loss of sight.
Tomoki – loss of feeling.
Izumi – loss movement.
Junpei – loss of hearing.
Kouichi – loss of perceptiveness.
They actually came from the basic senses, though they've been warped a bit. 1, 2, and 5 are obvious. 6 is actually a 'social' sense, as opposed as a physical, ie. how a person fits into their social world, but it's actually a little more involved in that. Basically seeing things past face value. 4 is the sense of balance/equilibrium, and 3 is the somatosensory, the sense of touch, temperature and pain, ie. all feeling. I left out taste. Didn't really fit with the idea.