It's a Gemini Star Birthday fic! Yes, that's right. On May 21, 2004, Gemini Star01 turned the nice round age of 15. Yes, fifteen. Are you really surprised?

This is an interesting little thing I thought of whilst contemplating the Savage Garden song 'Two Beds and a Coffee Machine'…Well, the first part at least. If you've got that song, play it while reading this fic…It makes for a very nice effect. This is just a one-shot, but pretty good…

Oh, and these are the REAL names of Kouji and Kouichi's parents, and their stepmother. I found them at Digital Starlight, if you've seen the site…

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, which includes Kouji, Kouichi and their past. But this is my idea, so please don't mess with it.

Mother's Tale

Minamoto Tomoko sighed, looking out the open window…

No…No, that was not right. The divorce papers had been finalized this morning. For the first time in five years, she was no longer Minamoto Tomoko.

Kimura Tomoko sighed, looking out the open window. Out in their backyard, she kept an eye on the two almost-identical three-year-old boys as they laughed and played together on the grass lawn.

As she watched, the slightly elder of the two grabbed onto his brother's hand to tag him 'it'. But in mid-grasp, the younger one tripped and pulled them both to the ground. They sat back up, laughing wildly.

Kouji and Kouichi…Her precious sons.

She took a deep breath, composing herself, then slowly opened the back door. "Boys…" she called, put a fake cheerfulness back in her voice. "It's time for dinner! Come in and get washed up!"

The two boys glanced at each other, unwilling to leave their twilight playtime. But the need for food won out, and they scrambled back up the steps to the house, where their mother ushered them down the hall to the bathroom.

Half-way there, Kouji looked up at his mother. Big, sweet, navy blue eyes gazed at her worriedly. "Mama?" he asked. "What's wrong?"

She a jumped a little at his question, then shook her head. She forced a pleasant smile to spread over her face. "Nothing, sweetie." she soothed. "Everything's fine…"

Later that night, when the black-velvet streets were painted in silver moonlight, Tomoko crept quietly down the darkened hallway. She paused a moment in the open doorway, watching the scene before her with a heavy heart.

The two boys lay side-by-side, their futons laid out in the middle of the room. They were wrapped in blue and green blankets, respectively, fast asleep. They were facing each other, each close enough to grip the other's free hand if they wanted to. In their arms each cradled his favorite stuffed toy…the younger a sliver-gray wolf-dog, the younger, a soft black cat with golden eyes. Both had content smiles on their faces, lost in happy dreams.

Tomoko bit her lip. They looked so peaceful…so happy…It pained her so much to do this. But if she didn't, then…

She slipped quietly into the room and knelt by the younger boy's side. She gently brushed his hair away from his eyes, lovingly stroking his face with her fingers. She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. "I love you, Kouji…"

She gazed at him longingly a moment, then stood again and crossed to the other. Gazing at them both together one last time, she sighed once again, heart feeling heavy.

Then she gathered the older boy up in his blankets, tucking the kitty doll next to him. He didn't wake up, but he did snuggle closer into her warmth and mumbled a bit. She kissed him on the top of the head and stood, carrying him back out into the hall.

Kousei stood at the front door, a stern look on his features. "Do you have everything?" he asked in a low whisper.

"All our things are already at mother's." she muttered, staring at a knothole in the doorframe.

"Good." he paused a moment and ran his hand through the sleeping boy's hair. "You remember our agreement?"

"Yes…" she said reluctantly, shifting to gaze back down the darkened hallway.

"It's for the best, Tomoko." he said, slowly and evenly.

"I know." she gently shifted the child in her arms, holding him tightly, before looking back up at her now-ex-husband. "Goodbye, Kousei."

He nodded. "Goodbye, Tomoko."

With that, he allowed her to exit the house and shut the door quietly behind them.

Tomoko kept her mind as empty as possible as she made her way to the station. She didn't want to think about where she was going as she purchased two tickets, boarding a train to a far side of Tokyo. She sat in the almost-empty compartment, watching the city lights zoom by as the train pulled away, and let a few dewy tears drip from her eyes.

Suddenly, the form in her arms shifted. Sleepy, navy eyes looked up at her, a bit confused. "…Mama?"

"Shh…" she soothed, pulling him closer. "It's okay, dear. Go back to sleep."

Kouichi looked behind her and saw the lights flashing by. "Where're we going, mama?"

"To…To Grandma's." she smiled. "We're going to visit her for a while, okay?"

"Okay…" he murmured sleepily, then curled back up and fell fast asleep.

The ride lasted another thirty or so minutes, until they arrived at the other station. Tomoko carried he son away from the platform, down the street for only a couple of blocks before reaching a familiar apartment building. The clock in the elevator read 11:42 when she rode up to the ninth floor in silence.

An old woman answered the door when she knocked. "Tomoko." she whispered, a slight smile on her face. "I'm glad you both made it alright. Come in, come in…The poor baby needs to be put to bed."

She showed Tomoko into a very small room at the end of the tiny hallway in the little apartment. Here she found the small futon they'd set up earlier in the week, and tucked her son snug in the blankets. Giving him one more, gentle smile, she stood and went back into the kitchen.

"I can't thank you enough, mom." she sighed, pouring them each a cup of tea. "Until I get a stable job, things are going to be rough for a while…"

"Stay here as long as you like." her mother smiled. "You know I love taking care of my grandson."

The daughter smiled and sipped her tea. The old woman was silent a moment, then she spoke up again. "Tomoko…was it really wise to just leave like this?"

"It's the best thing to do." Tomoko looked down and sighed. "Kousei…and I… agreed to it."

"But without even telling the boys?" her mother pressed. "And what about you? I can't believe you'd agree to cut off connection with your own son!"

"Kouji will be fine." Tomoko added more sugar to her tea. "Satomi is a good woman, she and Kousei will take good care of him. Besides…if I hadn't, Kousei wouldn't agree to joint custody. He'd have taken them both…at least this way I can keep Kouichi. "

"But what about Kouichi?" the elder asked. "You could have at least let him tell his brother goodbye."

"He wouldn't understand…" Tomoko whispered. "Neither of them would. By the time they're old enough too…I doubt they'll remember it. It's just better that they don't know…"

Her mother frowned. "Don't you think they'll remember this now?" she chastised.

Before Tomoko could respond she was interrupted by a frightened little sob. They looked up to find Kouichi, clinging to his stuffed kitty with both hands, standing in the hallway. The little boy's eyes were wet with tears, and his bottom lip was trembling.

"Mama…" he whimpered. "Where's Kouji?"

Tomoko took in a small gasp, crossing to pull him into her arms. He'd never woken up to find himself alone before…Small, thin arms wrapped around her neck, pulling himself close as frightened tears ran down his cheeks.

"Kouji, Mama…" he sobbed. "I want Kouji…"

Tomoko opened her eyes, sighing. Those were not her favorite memories…not at all. She hadn't realized then how much she would truly regret leaving her youngest son behind…

She leaned back to pour over the papers once again. Electric bill, medical bill, rejected job applications…Even though the job she had now was very steady, it didn't pay very well. And an eleven year old boy ate quite a bit more than a toddler…

She paused a moment, coming across a statement from their medical insurance. They'd increased their rates…again. But they had paid for the care Kouichi had needed last week.

Tomoko bit her lip at the thought. She'd almost been scared to death when the ER called her to report that her precious son had seriously injured himself falling down the stairs of Shibuya Station. By the time she arrived from work he'd been awake, but had still needed an overnight stay to make sure he hadn't received any sort of brain damage.

Ever since her mother had died only a month ago, Tomoko had been so worried about her son. He'd gone to see his grandmother the night before her death, and afterwards he acted…differently. He kept going out to who-knows-where, and his eyes always looked so sad. Add that in with the accident and the fact that he needed something more nourishing than cereal, brown bread sandwiches and lunchmeat so that he was quite thin…she had been most concerned.

But for some reason, since the accident, it was like he was a whole new person. He smiled all the time, and now his sneaking around had a more playful purpose to it. It was almost like he was planning something…


Tomoko jumped a foot with a startled gasp, turning. "Kouichi!" she exclaimed, spotting her son. "My goodness, you scared me to death!"

Kouichi laughed, producing a small, round cake. It was about six inches in diameter, chocolate, as she could see through the slightly squashed right side. It was hand-iced, with pale blue icing, decorated with green words in big letters.

"Happy Birthday, Mom!" he grinned, repeating the words with flourish.

It took a moment for Tomoko to regain her breath. "Why…Kouichi!" she gasped, a smile spreading over her face as he placed the cake on the table. "Where…how did you get this?"

"A friend helped me make it at her house." Kouichi smiled a very sly smile.

"'Her' house?" Tomoko raised an eyebrow. "I didn't realize you had any female friends. What's her name?"

"Izumi. I'll introduce you later…" Kouichi's eyes softened. "But there's something else I have to show you first."

"Oh? And what's that?" Tomoko searched her mind for any possible birthday gift he could afford. She couldn't think of any. "Stop smiling like that, Kouichi, and tell me."

"I can't tell you." he urged. "It's a surprise. If I told you, it would ruin the suspense."

"Then show me." Tomoko insisted, playing along. "Show me the surprise."

"It's not here. You have to go to it." Kouichi held up a thin, white cloth. "Here mom…lemmie put this on."

Tomoko blinked at him, in which time he leaned up and tied the blindfold over her eyes. Then he stood and helped her up by the hand. "Come on, mom…Keep your other hand on my shoulder."

He guided her left hand to rest on his shoulder, gripping her right with his own. Behind the blindfold, Tomoko raised an eyebrow as her son led her out the door and down the sidewalk.

"Kouichi, where are you taking me?" she asked after a few minutes.

"To the surprise, mom." Kouichi said, his ever-gently voice tingling with excitement. "Don't worry, we're almost there."

She listen and heard the crunching of leaves beneath her feet, so she assumed they were around trees. There was a park near their house, could that be it? What would Kouichi want to show her in the park?

"Here we go…" he muttered, stopping and let in go of her hand. "Hang on a sec, mom."

He moved away, leaving her standing alone. She strained her ears, picking up what sounded like whispered comments between two people, then Kouichi spoke again. "Okay mom…you can take off the blindfold now."

Tomoko reached back and undid the knot, heart pounding with nervousness. The cloth fell away. For a moment she stared at what was in front of her. Then she gasped.

Two almost-identical boys stood in front of her. They weren't exactly alike… one's hair was dark and longer, while the other's was cut short. But their faces were the same, their eyes, their smiles. And Tomoko could only stare as she realized who they both were.

"Happy Birthday, mom." both of them said together, shy smiles on their lips.

Tomoko took a deep, stuttering breath and took a step forward. "Kou…Kouji?" she whispered hesitantly.

The second one nodded, a bit of a blush on his cheeks. "Hi mom."

Tomoko took another deep breath, taking his hands to clutch them in her own. "I…I never thought I'd see you again." she gulped, then threw her arms around him. "Oh, Kouji…I missed you so much…"

"Mom…" he whispered hesitantly, then gulped and wrapped his arms around her. "I've…wanted to meet you for so long."

"Me too, honey…" she ran her fingers through his hair. "Me too…"

She looked up. Kouichi was standing beside them, grinning from ear to ear like she'd never seen him before. His eyes glowed with a new kind of light.

"Kouichi…" she motioned. "Get over here, you little troublemaker."

He raised his eyebrows, but came closer. Tomoko put an arm around each of her sons and pulled them close, taking breaths to try and get out what she had to say.

"My boys…" she whispered, tears running down her cheeks. "My precious babies…"

And for the first time in several years, she truly was…happy.