Disclaimer-I don't own Digimon. I guess that's a good thing.
Summary-Takes place after 'Of Broken Hearts And Jealousy Kouichi examines his life before and after the Digital World after a shocking incident. Forced to move in with his brother's family, he ponders his future and its possibilities. Eventually, even with the aid of old and new friends and enemies, he wonders if it was all worth it to his last breath.
A year after he had ensured that Kouji was happy was all it had taken for things to fall apart, for his life to go along the road that led to yet another mishap.
It had been a year since that day, two years since Kouji and Sumi had begun their relationship. Kouichi had kept it marked in his notebook, always alert for moments to take into account, always observing...
It had been a year ago that he had moved in with his father, stepmother, and Kouji.
A year ago...had been the death of his mother.
Of course, he didn't hate his stepmother or his father, he didn't blame them at all. Kouichi could only blame himself. He could have stopped it from happening.
He, alone, had the power to stop it. And in the end, he failed her. He let down his mother. In the end, he couldn't be there for her, and she had suffered because of his stupidity.
Defiant, Kouichi refused to move from his room, even from the house. He didn't want to leave the memories behind. Pictures, not even memories from the heart would do for him. He needed the items that mattered, the places to fall into that nostalgic state, to truly remember his mother. But with coaxing from his friends and family, he eventually caved in, moving into Kouji's old room in his father's house.
They sold the house and gave him the money, saying it was his anyway, that he could use it for college. Much of the furniture had been sold too, irking Kouichi to the point that he refused to budge from his new room for at least a week, not accepting food or water until Kouji shoved it down his throat.
He was being selfish, he knew. Kouji had more reason to be upset. After all, the younger twin only had spent three years with their mother, even less.
That had been last year. Now, Kouichi sat with his family at the dining table, picking at his food quietly.
"So, Kouji, Kouichi...how was school?" Mr. Minamoto asked, hoping to lighten the mood.
Kouichi looked up with a blank face. Shrugging, he murmured a quiet, "Fine," before returning to his food.
Looking at his wife for an answer, the twins' father sighed. Kouji glanced at his twin, worried. Finally, he spoke up, "Kouichi, if you don't start eating, I'm going to have to force that food down your throat, you know."
Shrugging again, Kouichi stood up. "I'm...not hungry. I'm going to my room," he announced in a quiet voice, walking away without another word or hearing anyone's response. It didn't really matter to him, anymore.
Nothing really did.
Kouichi picked up his backpack that lay beside the door, then dropped it unceremoniously by his desk. As he sat down in the chair, his gaze fell upon a picture that showed his mother and Kouji, both smiling...
He had two lights to light his way through the dark before.
Now...the one he had considered brightest was gone. The other one, no matter how bright couldn't help him now. Not with his curse.
Sometimes, Kouichi pondered if it was a gift or a curse. If he had saved his mother, maybe he could have considered it a gift, even gone so far as to pray for it to constantly come. But no. His mother was dead. His soul was dead. His spirit was lost.
He was a mindless corpse. A robot.
A robot, Kouichi thought bitterly, slamming a fist on his desk, with a curse.
It had started when he had been chasing after Kouji as his twin had gone to the train station. He had tripped and fallen into a coma. And, in order to be revived, Ophanimon had given him some strange power.
At first, it wasn't horrible at all. There were small memories of his past flooding back to him, one in which he had seen Kouji and his father before at the age of three, without even knowing.
But it grew into something much worse. Before he knew it, Kouichi was receiving insight of possibilities of the future, and was given the ability to change it, or leave it as it was. For example, he knew Kouji and Sumi would go out; he knew Sumi had looked familiar because he had seen her with Kouji in his dreams many times.
Dreams conveyed the future to Kouichi, and he rarely bothered changing it, figuring everything would work out in the end.
He had been so wrong...
It had been the night before his mother had died. Kouichi found it impossible to sleep as images of blood and screaming filled his head. Somehow, he found himself in a deep slumber.
And then saw his mother's face. There had been a small smile, one of regret. And then...
She died. She died right before his eyes, and he had been a second late, one second too late to stop the murder from happening.
The next morning, he had offered to walk with her to the grocery store. After she declined and left, it took five minutes of arguing with himself before he ran after her. And then, just as he turned the corner, he saw her, shot dead, the same smile on her face.
Slamming his fist on his desk once more, Kouichi lay his head down as he choked silently on tears. "Wh-...why...? Mom...I miss you," he whispered, a hand reaching out and grabbing the picture frame. "Why did you have to leave?"
Hearing a knock on his door, Kouichi sat up and wiped his eyes quickly. "Y-yeah?" he answered quickly to avoid suspicion.
"Hey, it's Kouji. Do you mind if I-"
"N-no...um, come in..."
Kouji opened the door, a smile on his face. Kouichi shut his eyes and looked away. "Hey...are you okay?" the younger twin asked, worried.
Nodding, Kouichi sighed and opened his eyes. "I just...I dunno...I can't get over it..."
A look of sorrow replaced the smile. "Kouichi..."
"What?" There was a bitter tone in the older boy's voice.
"Just...get over it, okay? She won't be coming back, and there's nothing we can do about it! Stop being a damn child!"
He's starting it again. Glaring up at his brother, Kouichi hissed, "I'll be a child if I want, so shut the hell up. I know she won't come back, I know there's nothing I can do! But you weren't there! If you plan on talking about things you don't know anything about, just...shut up! How would you feel if you knew you could have stopped it, but couldn't because you were a second late, huh? But you don't know how that feels! Get out of my room!"
The glares between the brothers's intensified, both their eyes flickering with anger and hate. Finally, Kouji turned around and closed his eyes, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I really feel sorry for you, Kouichi. You're so pathetic." And this was my room before it was yours, creep, Kouji thought in the back of his mind, but he managed to hold his tongue.
"At least I could confess my feelings for a girl!" snapped Kouichi. It was a well-practiced reflex (mentally, of course) that he felt had finally needed to be put into play.
Turning red, Kouji turned back around. "Sh-shut up! You haven't talked to any girls!"
"S-so?" exclaimed the younger twin. "SO? So then..." There was a pause and Kouichi placed the frame back in its spot, shutting his eyes. "SO I DARE YOU TO DATE A GIRL!"
"I don't like any," returned the older twin hotly. "So tough. Besides, that wouldn't be polite."
He knows how to be polite? "W-well...I dare you to talk to a girl!"
"I talk to Izumi and Sumi all the time. And I tell half the girls in class to shut up."
So he doesn't know how to be polite. I should have guessed. Knowing he was running out of ideas fast, Kouji blurted, "I dare you to talk to a girl you've never talked to before!"
"Uh..." Kouichi muttered, thinking of a girl he had never talked to before. "Fine..." I'll just tell her to shut up, too.
"Great. Then you'll see how you're doubly pathetic!"
"...whatever. Get out of my room."
Growling about stubborn, stupid, older twin brothers, Kouji stormed out of the room.
Sighing and staring around his room, Kouichi shivered at his solitude. If there was a way he could undo the past...
He would do anything to take that chance.
"Kouichi! I DIDN'T DO MY ANNOTATIONS LAST NIGHT! HELP ME!" Takuya cried out, clinging onto Kouichi's sleeve.
Rolling his eyes, Kouichi muttered, "You don't have to have annotations on the scene. You just need to know that-first get off of my sleeve..."
Takuya grinned sheepishly and let go. "Sorry about that...so what do I have to know?"
"As I was saying, you only need to know that the message the Friar delivered never reached Romeo. But you should already know that, so there's no big deal. Okay? Okay. Now go bug Kouji if you need something," Kouichi snapped, heading to his locker.
Now in ninth grade, the twins, Izumi, Sumi and Takuya were still in different classes. However, this time, Kouichi, Takuya and Izumi were in one class while Sumi and Kouji were in another.
Walking over to the younger twin, Takuya asked, "What's with him? He seems grumpier than usual, if that's possible."
"I dunno. He's been like that since...well...he went all sour yesterday," Kouji muttered. "And he's being a total baby." He didn't bother to include the possibility of it being his fault. The last thing he needed today was Takuya on his back, laughing at him.
Kouji turned to face a girl with short black hair and brown eyes. "Hey, Hotaru, what's up?" he said in response to his name, casually leaning against the nearby lockers.
"Do you know where Sumi is? I really need to talk to her about our project..." Hotaru laughed uneasily.
"Nope, sorry." Under his breath, he muttered, "Do you know what's up with my twin?"
"YOU HAVE A TWIN?" Hotaru suddenly exclaimed, taking several steps away, surprised.
Rolling his eyes, Kouji nodded. "Well, duh. And he-hey...why don't you go bug him for me?" A devious grin found its way onto Kouji's lips, and he didn't bother to hide it.
Raising an eyebrow, Hotaru declined the offer, "Uh...no thanks. What's his name though? You don't seem like the type to have any siblings..." She muttered something else under her breath, but said nothing else aloud.
"Kouji, are you going straight home, or do you have some unknown activity after school I should know about?" Kouichi asked, walking up to his twin, his face stolid.
"Going straight home. This, Hotaru, is Kouichi. My twin. Kouichi," Kouji introduced the two, "Hotaru."
"...you two don't look so alike. THAT IS SO COOL!" Hotaru squealed, clapping delightedly.
Kouichi stared at Hotaru. Finally, he shook his head as he told her, "You know what? At first, I thought you were stupid. Now I know you're an idiot."
Both Kouji and Hotaru's jaw dropped as Kouichi walked away without another word. Finally recovering from her shock, Hotaru sniffed. "Heartless freak!"
Laughing nervously and knowing the damage Hotaru was capable of inflicting, Kouji quickly said, "He's just...um...like that before tests and everything. You know...uh...yeah!"
"Kouji! Kouichi's being a heartless freak!" Sumi yelled as she stormed towards her boyfriend. "I mean, honestly, just because your mom died...I mean, you knew her for a shorter period of time than he did! Shouldn't you be the one still being a freaking...god, I give up!"
Hotaru's face fell. "O-oh...your mom...died?" she asked Kouji quietly.
Wincing, Kouji nodded. He turned to the brown-haired girl and murmured, "Uh...Sumi? You two talk about the project. And next time, shut up."
Realizing what she had just said, Sumi covered her mouth and nodded. Uncovering her mouth, she tugged lightly on his arm and murmured, "I'm sorry...really...I didn't mean..."
He shrugged and offered a smile. "Don't worry about it. I need to talk to him about it," he muttered for the most part to himself.
"You're kidding," Takuya growled, exasperated. "You dared him to talk to a girl he hadn't talked to before? In this mood?"
Kouji rolled his eyes as they sat down in their usual lunch spot. Once again, Kouichi had discovered his own sanctuary (especially after had Sumi found his old one), making it his first priority to keep it secret. Especially after his mother had died.
"I didn't think he'd snap at her. In fact, I thought him telling all those girls to shut up was a joke! I mean, honestly, he seems like the polite type, right? Now I need to redo that dare...I'll dare him to say something nice to a girl he's recently insulted!" Kouji concluded, hitting his left palm with his right fist in triumph.
"Oh, wow, don't you have a brilliant mind."
Kouichi snorted as he loomed over them and muttered, "Not. I talked to a girl I didn't know. Tough. Now do you want to shut up about this? It's getting annoying."
Grumbling, Kouji and Takuya exchanged glances before making faces behind Kouichi's back as he walked off.
"One of these days, someone's going to slap him," Takuya commented.
Nodding, Kouji added, "One day soon. Very soon."
"Damn...math...damn...damn it all!" Kouichi swore, throwing his pencil against the nearby wall. Once more, he had found refuge in a circle of rose bushes that looked clumped together (this time, however, behind the office building). It was as if some force wanted to keep him sane during school hours.
Unfortunately, it wasn't working all that well now.
Growling, he sifted through his homework, examining each page he had to do and muttering, "I hate this...the homework is stupid...the play is stupid, the problems are stupid...it's all stupid!"
"Gah...what the heck is this place?" he heard someone whine.
Eyes widening, Kouichi turned to the direction of the voice, quickly stuffing his homework back in his bag. "Wh-"
"Ow! Sumi! That hurt!" Hotaru yelled as she was pushed through a rose bush and landed on top of Kouichi. "Why did I end up on a bony-like..." Turning around, Hotaru let out a small yell as she spotted Kouichi. "Aaaah...I'm so sorry!" she apologized, mumbling something close to a rant to herself for the most part.
Kouichi winced as she crawled off of him and offered a hand to pull him up. Ignoring it, he pushed himself up and stared at her with an icy glare. "Why are you here?"
"Because SUMI had to push me in here. Now how the heck do I get out?" murmured Hotaru, looking around and deeming the rose bushes impossible to pass.
"Go through the bushes again."
"Yes, now get going!" Kouichi snapped, attempting to push her out.
Hotaru sat cross-legged in her spot, glaring at Kouichi as he pushed her arm fruitlessly. "Never!"
"How much do you weigh?" grumbled the boy.
"About...I dunno. Ninety? Eighty?"
"Then why are you so damn heavy?"
"AAAAAHHH!" Hotaru glared at Kouichi and stood up, a hurt expression on her face. "You're the rudest boy I have ever talked to! So what if your mom died? Get over it!"
There was a silence as Hotaru glared at the wide eyed Kouichi. "H-how did you...who told you?" Kouichi asked, fighting to keep his voice level and calm. His eyes were glued onto his shoes, his hands clenched into fists by his sides. "You have no right..."
"Who cares who told me? It doesn't matter! Just because you lost someone, it doesn't mean you can take your anger out on people close to you! You know, you're just a big spoiled brat!" Hotaru yelled angrily.
Standing up and blinking away tears, Kouichi whispered in a deadly voice, "And how would you feel if your mother died? And you were only a second away from stopping her murder? How would you feel then?" As Hotaru fell quiet again out of shock, Kouichi let out a short, bitter laugh, "That's right, you wouldn't. You wouldn't, nor would anyone else who tries to use the same arguments as you. I can counter it all, because I'm not as lucky as you all. No, I have to be a stupid, cursed, idiot robot. You don't know a single thing about me, you never will. Not even Kouji knows that much. So shut up, and leave me alone, dammit."
Hotaru watched wordlessly as Kouichi calmly picked up his fallen pencil, then his backpack, and made his way through the bushes, not bothering to say anymore.
Some first impression, she thought with a sigh. "Stupid. Boys...can be so stupid." And I thought Romeo was bad.
So there you have it. It's a branch off of 'Of Broken Hearts and Jealousy,' but reading that story won't really make a difference (because I wrote it so long ago and I never edit, so that story's just ick). I'll fix the summary later.
I've read this over and over again to edit, and I've finally decided to post it because I feel bad that I still haven't written Ch. 47 of NTB3 (I'm horrible like that). I think the headaches are going away (which means typing, yeah!) so I'll start on Ch. 47. In the meantime, enjoy. I'll probably put up a chapter for 'Cursed Gifts' every month...? I don't want to rush it. I treasure it even more than the NTB series (probably because I know where I'm going with it). It's changed so much…but I love it. (Hope you guys will, too!)
I hope you enjoyed the story. I will post the next chapter August 13 (hopefully, unless fanfiction hates me still or my parents go berserk).
Review or Flame.