Disclaimers: I don't own Digimon Frontier. This is just a fanfiction.
Rated T for mild languages, fighting scenes, mild sensuality scenes, and bloody-violence
Chapter 37: The Embarrassing Photo
"You're kidding, right?" Daisuke said after Gennai finished his story. "This has got to be a joke. Ken is being controlled by a parasitic vampire?"
"You gotta admit that this story does sound strange, Gennai," Tai agreed. "But after what we've been through, everything does make sense."
"What are we going to do, Nii-san?" Takeru asked, looking at his older brother.
"There must be something we can do to help Ken," Miyako said, pushing the bridge of her glasses higher.
"Gennai-san, we have to stop Ken before it's too late," Hikari said, clenching her first with concern. "If we don't do something soon, the darkness will consume him forever."
Gennai nodded solemnly as the idea was possibly grimed. He never wanted this to happen but it did, and now it has forced him to seek help from Gali, the Water Oracle. "You're right, Hikari-chan. If we don't do something soon, Dusk will make Ken commit such a horrible crime that it will surely scare him for life…perhaps even drive him insane."
"Well, then quit yammering and tell us what to do!" Daisuke insisted. "C'mon, buddy! Ken's my best friend and I'm not gonna let no evil vampire suck out his soul!"
Tai and Yamato rolled their eyes at the younger boy's enthusiasm.
"Daisuke, we're all in this together. Ken's our friend, too, you know," said Iori Hida, the youngest member in their group.
Gennai reached into his robes and pulled out a box and opened it. All eleven children leaned in to get a better look and saw that the contents in the box were…
"Necklaces?" Jyou Kido asked, raising an eyebrow curiously.
"Oooh, how pretty!" Mimi chirped. "I think the green one's mine. Sora, you can have the red one!"
"According to the markings, I believe the correct terms are tags," said Koushiro Izumi, scrutinizing his own tag. "And these objects inside of them seemed to be some sort of crests…prodigious!"
"What are we supposed to do with them?" Tai asked.
"You must use them to bring your friend back," Gennai replied. "Each of you have your own unique traits that highlight the true content of your heart. Taichi, do you remember what yours was?"
Taichi nodded. "Of course! I discovered true Courage before my friends and I faced the Dark Masters years ago."
"So if we can somehow tap into the power of these crests, we can bring out the best in Ken so that he can use it to free himself!" Takeru smiled. As the wielder of Hope, he truly believed that there is hope for his friend yet.
"Hey, how come we don't get one?!" Daisuke complained, pointing to himself, Miyako, and Iori. "No fair, we want to help, too!"
"It's because you have already inherited Tai's Courage and Yamato's Friendship," Gennai reasoned. Turning to the other two, he said, "The same can be said for you two as the spirit of Love and Sincerity have found themselves in Miyako's heart and Iori have recently discovered the true meanings of Knowledge and Reliability. The three of you are special enough that you don't need crests to prove your worth."
"Gennai, what's that," Hikari asked before Daisuke could make another comment. Gennai smiled and reached into the box and pulled out the last crest and tag.
"This belongs to Ken," Gennai said. "The symbol on his crest is that of Kindness, a trait that he once had before his brother's death."
Daisuke suddenly felt bad for complaining before as he took the last tag from Gennai's hand. Looking down at it, Daisuke remembered how close he and Ken were and how great he had gotten along with him on the soccer field. Where was that kind boy? Where has he gone? As if knowing what Daisuke was thinking, the crest glowed weakly before dying down.
"If we show Ken his crest, you think we can save him?" Miyako asked.
"It's worth a try, Takeru said. "This is the only hope we have left."
"But guys, his crest is all darken up…is that normal?" Mimi pointed out. Leave it to her to notice if something pretty seemed out of place.
"Ken's losing his kindness!" Hikari exclaimed. "Don't you see? The longer we leave him out there alone with that thing in his head, the more he'll likely be lost to us for good."
Daisuke and Tai stood up at the same time, clenching their fists with great motivation.
"Then let us be the one to help Ken light it back up!"
"Yeah, time to go, everyone! We got a friend to save!"
Takuya and his friends have been standing a few meters away from Izumi's restaurant because the last thing they all need is for her parents to spot him through the windows. Takuya glanced up at his friends. Junpei was busy talking to Tomoki and Masaki about how they were going to convince Izumi's parents to let her hang out with them. Takashi, on the other hand was busy trying to talking to Kimi. She listened to him politely as he tried to make her laugh, but Takuya knew that she was bored without her twin. Once again, Kyochi was busy working overtime as an intern at the hospital, trying to help his mother deal with the new victims of Dusk's hunting. At the same time, the older twin had to keep an eye on Ami's progress.
Takuya glanced at his phone again. It's been more than half an hour since he last called Kouji. Maybe he should talk to Kimi to cheer her up…plus, he really wants to get back at Kouji for that time he chased the goggle-head around the house because Takuya did something silly at a party last year.
"Soooo…Kimi," Takuya said casually. "What's a drop dead gorgeous girl like you doing on this fine day?"
Takashi glared daggers at him, his eyes giving off a How-dare-you-talk-to-my-gal-like-that-you-rotten-gogglehead look. Of course, Takuya ignored him since he's only teasing and Kimi knows it.
"If that is your pick-up line, I've heard better ones from Takashi," Kimi rolled her eyes and smiled. "Forgive me for intruding, Takuya, but aren't you going out with Izumi?"
"Umm…I…" Takuya started to blush furiously. Kimi smiled even more.
"Is that why we're here of all places today?" Kimi asked, looking over at the restaurant's sign.
"Fine, you got me," Takuya shrugged.
"It was written all over your face last night," Kimi shrugged.
Takuya wanted to tell her to knock it off but then decided against it. It would be best to just change the subject and get back to what he was going to show her.
"Hey, Kimi," Takuya chirped, sounding a little bit too happy for Kimi's liking. "You wanna see something funny?"
Takashi eyed him wearily and was about to object, but Kimi shook her head. "I do not believe you and I share the same definition of funny."
"Oh, c'mon. I promise it'll be worth your while," Takuya grinned, perhaps a little too big this time.
"It's not something gross, is it?" Kimi asked.
"Nah, it's just a photo…" Takuya paused for a little bit for dramatic effects as he held up his cell phone. "Of Kouji's most embarrassing moment…or maybe it's Kouichi…"
This definitely perked Kimi's interest as Takuya passed her the device. Sure enough, the photo made her blinked in confusion…twice. She didn't know what to say. Whatever it was on the screen was so strange that she wanted to laugh her heart out, yet at the same time she was too speechless not to.
"Where did you get this?" she asked finally.
"Oh, at school when the twins weren't looking and…"
"TAKUYA!" cried an angry voice.
"Oh, crap! He's here!" Takuya grinned mischievously as he grabbed Kimi by the shoulder. The next thing she knew, she was being used as a shield to protect Takuya from Kouji's wrath.
Kouji glared at her and then at the phone in her hand.
She…she saw the photo! Kouji thought angrily.
No! This wasn't supposed to happen! Kouji cursed to himself over and over mentally. Why did his step-mother have to ask him and Kouichi to wear those stupid cat ears?! Sure, his parents laughed and even his birth mother thought it was cute when Satomi e-mailed her a copy, but Kouji didn't want anyone else out of the family to see it!
"YOU!" Kouji growled, glaring daggers at Takuya. "You rotten bastard!"
"HE'S GOING TO KILL ME!" Takuya cried.
"OF COURSE I AM!" Kouji snapped, rolling up his sleeves.
"I don't think so!" Takuya laughed, tightening his grip on Kimi's shoulders. "You wouldn't dare touch me, especially with Kimi here!"
"Kimi, step aside so that I can kill this bastard!" Kouji warned.
"Why?" Kimi questioned.
"You know why!" Kouji snapped. "You're holding the answer in your hand!"
Before Kimi could say anything, Kouji shoved her aside and grabbed Takuya by the collar.
"Hey!" Takuya squealed. "Easy on the shirt! It's new!"
"Yeah? Well I'm going to give you something new to add to your face!" Kouji said.
"Shouldn't we stop them?" Masaki looked to Junpei and Tomoki in concern.
"Why? I'm certainly entertained!" Takashi grinned as he crossed him arms.
Junpei just shrugged. "Don't worry about them. They're like this from time to time." Masaki doesn't seemed to be convinced as he watched Kouji's brother stepping in to stop the fight.
"Kouji, stop!" Kouichi cried, running up to his brother with Lobo and Löwe behind him.
"Stay out of my way, Nii-san," Kouji warned his twin. He quickly wrapped his arms around Takuya's neck and locked him in place. "I need to teach Takuya a lesson here."
"It's a joke, buddy!" Takuya cried trying to get free. "Honestly, you don't have any sense of humor!"
Before Kouichi could jump in and loosen his brother's grip, Kimi stepped in pulled Kouji and Takuya by their ears with her fingers. She had a tight grip and like little children, Kouji and Takuya winced in pain.
"Ow! Kimi, stop it!" Takuya cried. "You keep pulling like that, our ears are gonna come off."
Kimi ignored their plea and glanced at Kouichi. "Are they always like this?"
Kouichi shook his head. "Not always this intensively."
"Kimi, let go!" Kouji demanded.
Surprisingly, she complied. Takuya and Kouji both instantly rubbed their sore ears and glare at each other.
"Don't worry," Junpei spoke up, looking amused. "You haven't seen anything yet, Kimi. Last year was worse at this party and—"
At the mention of this, Takuya and Kouichi blushed furiously. Kouji just looked annoyed because apparently it also has something to do with him.
"I thought we made a deal to never mention that incident!" Takuya blurted.
Junpei shrugged and raised his hands up in defense. "Just saying!"
Kouji sighed and turned his attention back at Kimi and held out his hand. "Give me the phone, Kimi."
Kimi gave him a stoic look at first before a smile curled up on her lips. "After seeing this photo, I was expecting you to be more…prince charming."
Kouji's eyebrow raised up in confusion. He was sure that she would make a reference to something like a cat since the embarrassing photo he had in mind was of him and his twin wearing fake kitty ears for their step-mother's birthday request. The prince charming threw him off a bit. "What?"
Kimi smiled and glanced at Kouichi. "Who would have thought that you would make a good princess, Kouichi. Perhaps I should hire you to replace me when I want to get away from my palace."
Kouji quickly snatched the phone out of Kimi's hand and stared at the photo in disbelief. If Kouji and Kouichi had thought the photo of them in cute cat ears was embarrassing, this photo was ten times worse: It was a picture of Kouji dressed up as a handsome fairy tale prince. The pretty princess in the blue dress next to him was none other than Kouichi.
Lobo and Löwe had no idea what to think. They've heard of cross-dressing before ever since Prince James and Prince Jason once pretended to be chambermaids to sneak out of the palace several hundred years ago, but this is ridiculous! If Kimi and Takuya had been paying close attention, they would have noticed that the two pets are trying very hard not to laugh out loud like humans.
Kouichi instantly blushed furiously when he saw the photo. Quickly, he shyly hid behind his brother, too embarrass to say anything to anyone. Kouji felt sorry for him since the older twin had the unfortunately luck of wearing the dress that day and not him. He turned to face Takuya and glared daggers at him.
"Yeah, I lied!" Takuya grinned. "I never took any photo from Kouichi's backpack. I took that picture myself when you two weren't looking backstage. Now, if you'll kindly give me back my phone…"
Kouji looked down at the mobile device and was tempted to break it halves with his two hands. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't."
"Kouji, stop," Kouichi spoke up at last, grabbing the phone and shoving it back at Takuya. "We're here so let's just forget about the photo and get going. Please?"
Seeing how red his twin's face still was from all the blushing, Kouji nodded and gave Takuya one last warning glare. "You're lucky that we have more important things to do today."
Takuya grinned stupidly as Kouji looped his arm around his brother's and pulled him towards the restaurant. The Guardian Knights and the other boys followed suit, leaving Kimi and Takuya to trail behind in the back.
"Psst, if you want, I could e-mail you a copy," Takuya whispered.
Kimi giggled and nodded. She hasn't had this much fun so early in the morning in a long time. But the photo made her curious.
"I'm intrigued, why on earth were they wearing those outfits? Where you and your friends attending a costume ball?" she asked.
"No, nothing of the sort," Takuya laughed. "It's just a play we put on for our previous school cultural festival."
Kimi looked confused.
"Oh, I take it that Lusterian schools don't have cultural festivals?"
Kimi shook her head since she still has a lot to learn about Japanese cultures. "The Royal Lusterian Academy for Girls does not put on public festivals."
"Well, here in Japan schools and university held their own cultural festivals where almost anyone can come and see what sort of stuff the students have put on," Takuya said. "It's a chance for us to show our parents, friends, and everyone else our artistic ideas…like some classes or clubs sell drinks and food by setting up their own restaurants…others put on dances…last fall, our class put on a school play."
"What was the name of your play?" Kimi asked. "By the looks of it, it was a fairy tale wasn't it?"
Takuya nodded. "Yeah, it's Cinderella. But here's the funny part: our homeroom teacher decided to give everyone a blind sign-up list. We all had to write our names down for a role in the play or that we don't know yet. Then she takes the tape off and revealed to us what our roles were. Our teacher always saved the main roles for last…"
"Let me guess, Kouji had to play Prince Charming and Kouichi ended up as Cinderella," Kimi smiled. She wished she could have seen the twins' shocked reaction.
"I swear that the Sewing Club members were having a ball designing their costumes since a lot of them are the twins' fan girls. Of course, Kouji wouldn't sit still for them to measure him and Kouichi didn't want to be seen in a dress until dress rehearsal."
"I would imagine it was the strangest play your school has ever seen," Kimi noted.
"You have no idea," Takuya grinned. "Seriously, Kouichi wasn't the only guy who had to dress up like a girl for this play. If he was, he probably would have died of embarrassment. And nobody was stupid enough to make fun of him unless they want Kouji to beat the shit out of them since he's the captain of the kendo club."
"Oh really?" Kimi mused. "And what role did you get, Takuya?"
"He was the fairy godmother," Kouji spoke up. "Honestly, I can hear you two taking back there!"
"Hey, for your information, I was the fairy can of tomato-sauce!" Takuya pointed out!
Kimi looked confused. "A can of tomato-sauce?"
Junpei and Tomoki laughed. "We wanted to make the play funnier by turning the fairy godmother into the fairy can of tomato-sauce! Basically, Takuya was dressed up as a tin can of tomatoes with wings, a magic wand, and a crown!"
"Hey, at least I don't have to wear a dress with heavy make-up like Teruo and Katsuharu! Those guys had to play the evil step-sisters!" Takuya pointed out.
Kimi, Takashi, and Masaki weren't sure who Teruo and Katsuharu are, but the image of any guy dressed in drag with heavy make-up for a school play was hilarious. They all burst into laughter.
"I swear, Teruo and Chiaki kept spilling the drinks they were trying to sell because everyone was laughing so hard!"
"Man, was I glad that my class only had to sell snacks instead!" Junpei added.
"And what role did Izumi play?" Takashi asked curiously.
"No one since she was just the costume designer," Takuya said. He grinned at Kouichi and elbowed him gently in the side. "C'mon, Kouichi! Admit it, Izumi did a fantastic job with your ball gown."
Kouichi blushed furiously again and decided that staring down at his shoes and his cat was more interesting.
"C'mon, buddy! It was even better than the last play we did on Alice in Wonderland and you had to play—"
"Can we go now, please?" Kouichi interrupted, turning around quickly and headed for the front door of the restaurant before Takuya could make fun of him again.
"He wasn't that bad as Alice," Takuya shrugged. "I mean the girls in our school loved it."
Kouji rolled his eyes in annoyance because it was clear that the group of fan girls that's been following the twins for years enjoyed seeing both brothers on stage rather than the play itself. God, those fan club freaks were annoying!
"Takuya, do me a favor and shut up for now," Kouji said as he followed his brother. "And if you tell Kimi that other story, I am going to kill you for real next time."
Takuya stuck his tongue out at Kouji's back and blew a raspberry.
"Oh, real mature, goggle-head," Junpei said, folding his arms. "C'mon, enough talks about school plays because we have a real fairy tale crisis to solve right now: rescue our Princess Izumi from her cold and lonely tower."
Takashi quickly ran up to the front and opened the glass door for Kimi.
"Right this way, my princess!" He smiled.
"What a gentleman," Kimi replied as she and the others walked into the restaurant.
Across the street, a man in a red coat with blond hair was watching the kids with interest. "Well, looks like I just found the perfect place to put on a show," he said.
While Takuya and his friends are currently planning to get Izumi out of her punishment, the goggle-head will have no idea just how heated the situations are going to get.
Author's Note: The Japanese Cultural Festival is an annual event held by most schools in Japan, from Nursery schools to universities at which their students display their artistic achievements. People who want to enter the school themselves or who are interested in the school may come to see what the schoolwork and atmosphere are like. Parents may also want to see what kind of work their children have been doing. The festivals are usually open to the public, especially at high schools and universities. They're usually depicted in various anime and manga series.
The Cinderella play that Takuya was talking about is a reference to an episode of Cardcaptor Sakura where Sakura attended her older brother's school play at his high school. She found out that like the play she had to put on, her brother was casted as Cinderella and his best friend was a fairy-godmother can of food. It was one of the most hilarious episodes ever so I thought it would be cute to have Kouichi as Cinderella for his class play. Poor guy, he was already casted as Alice the year before. Then again, I have seen fanarts of him as Alice while Kouji was the White Rabbit.
Katsuharu, Teppei, Teruo, and Chiaki were the other four kids who appeared in Digimon Frontier in the Beanstalk Village episodes.
This chapter was supposed to be longer, but I think it's best if I cut it here for now.