(glances down at announcement for July 7th) Server corruption…Read-only format…Sigh…I always update at just the best times, don't I?

(Hiding behind the couch) Don't hurt me for not updating in so long…I was a the Synod of the Sun Youth Workshop up in Tulsa…no computer access…I swear…And I'm tired… Really tired…

Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Digimon, Kouichi, or anything else from the show. Bleh.

Life Is But A Dream

Epilogue

8:47 A.M.

Koji and Takuya were sitting in the waiting room when the others arrived. Actually, Takuya was sitting, Koji was moving nervously between looking out the window and glancing at the closed door.

Izumi looked between them silently. "…We can't go in yet, can we?"

Both boys shook their heads, and the others sighed. Izumi sank into a chair next to Takuya, Tomoki on her other side. Junpei opted for leaning against the wall opposite Koji.

"Hey Koji." the oldest boy suddenly spoke up. "Where's your mom? I expected her to be here."

"The first train she could catch doesn't leave for another three minutes." he said bluntly. "She won't be here until 9:30, at least."

"…Oh." Junpei muttered, then they lapsed back into silence.

All eyes drifted to the clock at one point or another during the ensuing hush. They shifted their weight and held their breaths nervously, each biting their lips.

Tomoki squirmed a bit in his seat. "…I'm scared, you guys."

"Don't be." Takuya sighed, looking once more at the door. "I'm sure he's fine."

"I know…" Tomoki looked down. "I guess it's just 'cause of that weird dream I had…"

"Dream?" Junpei asked, snapping his head up. "What kind of dream?"

"…It was Kouichi." Tomoki said hesitantly. "He was…"

"In the Digital World?" Junpei finished. Tomoki nodded, eyes wide. "I had the same dream!"

"Me too." Izumi whispered. "He was with Lowemon…"

"The other Legendary Warriors, too." Takuya continued. "And there was something chasing him…"

"Duskmon." Koji nearly spat the name. "It was Duskmon chasing after him…It was like he was trying to kill him."

The silence reigned once more as the group contemplated this. Lumps raised in their throats and great butterflies took up residence in various stomachs.

Then Takuya took a deep breath. "We're being silly, guys." he sighed. "That didn't really happen. We're all just worried about him, that's all…That's all."

. . . . . .

It was dark. It was dark and warm and soft, a very welcoming and comforting feeling. The air smelled of antibiotics, and a slow beeping sound filled his ears. That was just a little annoying.

The darkness cracked a bit, a slight beam of light breaking through it. It was white-hot and burned the eyes, closing them immediately, then re-opening again with a slight groan.

Kouichi blinked at the lights on the ceiling a moment, just a tad bit confused. He thought for sure that…Duskmon…

His head hurt. He wanted to go back to sleep, but he had to know where he was first. He turned his head slowly, feeling too drained to move much more. On one side, he came face to pleasantly-stitched face with the SnowBotamon doll Izumi had made him. On the other, there was a chair pulled up next to his bed, beside a plastic tray filled with some kind of unidentifiable food.

He found himself looking at the figure in the chair, or at least the back of his head, as he was talking to someone…somewhere in the room. His hair was long and black, pulled into a ponytail, tied under a blue-and-gold bandana.

It took Kouichi a moment to realize why this boy looked so familiar. Then he smiled, very quietly.

"…Koji."

Koji snapped his head around at the quiet whisper from the bed. His brother looked up at him sleepily through half-lidded eyes, a very slight smile on his lips. The younger twin's eyes lit up.

"Kouichi!" He slid a bit closer, holding his brother's hand in both of his. "How're you feeling?"

Kouichi shifted a bit, snuggling back into the hospital-bed pillow. "Okay, I guess." he muttered. "I'm just sleepy…"

"You're lucky you're just that." Dr. Kido crossed from the other end of the room, coming to stand at the opposite side of the patient's bed. "You gave us all quite a scare. You stopped breathing during the operation, twice in fact. We thought we'd lost you there for a second."

Kouichi blinked at him a moment, uncomprehending, then he reached a hand under the tightly-tucked blankets. The fingers brushed against the familiar spot on his chest, only to touch gauze bandages over a properly-smooth chest.

"We got it out okay." the doctor assured him. "It was close, though. If we'd waited any longer, it'd have been too late."

Kouichi's smile returned, looking this time at his brother, squeezing his hand in relief. Koji grinned and nodded, squeezing back lovingly and leaning down to whisper in his ear:

"Don't you ever do that to me again." he whispered. "That's twice now I've had to watch you wake up here…"

Kouichi let his smile widened just a bit, lifting his arms to wrap them around his younger brother's neck. "Okay…" he muttered sleepily. "I promise."

Kouji was a bit startled at the reaction, but put his arms around his brother's waist and hugged back. After a moment, he released.

"What are you, crazy?" he chastised, putting hands on his brother's shoulders. "Lie down, or you'll hurt yourself. You need sleep, lots of it, before you can start pulling stuff like that."

Kouichi chuckled. "Yes, mom." he said cheerily, and snuggled back against the pillow.

Dr. Kido cleared his throat. "If you can stay conscious just a bit longer, I'm sure there are others who would like to speak with you…"

He opened the door and his friends entered in. Kouichi smiled a wide smile, feeling a very familiar warmth run over his body. With smiles on their lips and welcome in their voice, they came clattering around the bed, blocking out the rest of the world.

Kouichi smiled, pulling the small doll into his arms, closing his eyes. "Thank you…" he whispered in his mind. "All…Of you…"

OWARI

Okay. That's it for this fic…I really liked it, so I hope you guys did too. It's a bit confusing, and to be honest, I'm not totally certain what happened either. Was it simply a dream, induced by sickness, anesthesia and worry? Or did Duskmon really cause Kouichi's disease in an attempt to kill him? I suppose it's just something you have to figure out for yourself.

If anyone's interested in an in-depth crossover between Harry Potter and Digimon Frontier, I've got an idea that's been running free for a while, so if anyone's interested I may post it…

Ciao for now.

Gemini Star