"So you are the one?" she said slowly. "What were they thinking?" Her pale, piano fingers caressed the edge of the sphere and the image of the boy disappeared. "What shall I do with you?" she murmured as she tapped the top of her orb, bringing forth an image of a colossal ship. Leaning forward, she eyed the ship with an impassive glare and blew gently. A cerulean mist flowed from between her yellow lips and the moisture from the mist seeped into the globe causing rain to engulf the liner.

"Survive that."

"What a beautiful day! Kouji! Kouji wake up!"

"mf gre vurint bry nofer…."


A long sigh came from the head hiding under the pillow of the bottom bunk. "If you weren't my brother," he repeated groggily. "What time is it?" Kouji asked looking for the clock he usually had on his nightstand.

"You really are not a morning person, are you?" Kouichi chuckled as he walked across the small cabin.

Kouji glanced at his brother and blinked. Why did his room look so plain? Wait. Morning haze clearing. Mind sharpening. "Cruise," Kouji's voice held such genuine surprise that Kouichi started laughing, which soon escalated into uncontrolled hysteria. Kouji attempted to maintain the stern, grumpy look he had spent years perfecting, but failed. He could not keep his face mad when the face that looked just like his was so happy.

"I…I…ca…" Kouich cleared his throat to stifle his laughter before continuing, "I can not believe you forgot something as huge as going on a cruise."

"It's like…" Kouji started to say before looking around for a clock. When he did not see one, he asked what time it was.

"Nearly 4 o'clock in the morning," Kouichi answered as he pointed to a small circle on the opposite wall from the bunk bed.

Kouji's left eyebrow started to twitch and Kouichi smirked. "Goodnight," the younger boy said as he dove back under his pillow.

"Come on," Kouichi said quietly as he sat down on the bed next to his brother, "it's not night anymore."

"mf de vum bot mup…"

"Don't start that again," Kouichi sighed as he shoved Kouji's arm playfully.

"If the sun's not up, I'm not up," Kouji mumbled as his head appeared from under the pillow once more. Kouichi stood up with his back to the sleepy boy.

"Please," Kouichi whispered, his eyes softening.

"Fine," Kouji replied as he threw his legs over the edge of the bed. He yawned and stretched his arms above him. Why had Kouichi not turned around yet? "Kouichi," he called softly as he became completely vertical next to his brother.

The boy in question turned to face Kouji, with no hint of his previously somber mood. Kouichi gently pushed his brother towards the suitcases piled up in the corner of the room. "Get dressed," he commanded in mock seriousness.

"Yes, sir," Kouji chuckled as he bent down and unzipped one of the suitcases. As he started pulling out different pieces of clothing, Kouichi knelt down and unzipped his own suitcase. Kouji gazed at him with a puzzled expression. Kouichi was already dressed. His confusion increased as Kouich pulled out two black packages. As soon as he opened his mouth to question the boy next to him, Kouichi stood up and strode to the cabin door.

"I will meet you in this floor's outside lounge," Kouichi said as he opened the door and stepped out.

"Go left and head to the end of the corridor. Take a left when you reach the stairs and then a right," Kouichi replied to the unspoken query he felt coming off his brother. Then, he was gone.

Kouji knew something was amiss, but continued getting ready quickly. When he was finally dressed, which only took maybe five minutes, he opened the door and walked out into the hallway.

"Go left…"

He turned towards the left and started moving.

"…and head to the end of the corridor."

He reached the wall at the end of the path and noticed a staircase on his left.

"Take a left when you reach the stairs…"

He walked swiftly up the stairs.

"…and then a right."

He smiled as he saw his double leaning over the railing of the small balcony.

"Kouichi," he called as he approached the distracted figure.

"Good Morning, Kouji," the figure replied.

"It's not morning yet, bro," Kouji said with a grin. "Why are we up so early anyway?"

"Over here," Kouichi said and pointed to a nearby table with the two black boxes from earlier on it. The boys walked over and sat next to each other. Kouji eyed the packages curiously and then his brother. Kouichi suddenly appeared very nervous, which startled Kouji. Kouichi had not been nervous around him since he found him in the hospital the day they returned from the digital world.

"Kouichi, what's…"

"Here," Kouichi interrupted and shoved one of the boxes into Kouji's face. "I…I wanted to be the first person to give you a present on the first birthday we have spent together since we were babies," he muttered.

"Kouichi…" Kouji said in place of a response. He gingerly handled the black box. Kouichi grabbed the other box and lifted the lid, while gesturing for Kouji to do the same. Kouji remained awestruck as he lifted a black cord out of the box. Dangling from the middle of the cord was a silver sphere with his name carved into the metal. He glanced next to him and found an identical treasure in his brother's hand, though the name was different. Up, down, up, down. Kouji could do no more than open and close his mouth in his stupor.

"I know jewelry is not really appropriate for guys and I don't know if you would like silver and you don't have to wear it and … and … I'm sorry. It was a stupid idea," Kouichi finished lamely as Kouji remained statue still.

"No!" Kouji exclaimed, shoving the chair back and jumping to his feet. "I … I mean, they are perfect," he corrected when he noticed his brother's flinch at his shout. "Thank you, very much."




"Here," Kouji commanded. He gently took his brother's arm and guided him to his feet. "You take mine," he said as he put the charm in his hands around his brother's neck, "and I'll take yours," he finished as he fingered the metal in Kouichi's hand. Numbly, Kouichi released the cord and Kouji repeated the process on his own neck.

"Now we will always have a piece of each other," Kouji explained with a rising blush.

Finally, Kouichi smiled. "I thought I was supposed to be the emotional twin," the statement earned him a gentle punch to the shoulder.

"Whatever," Kouji grumbled, but still his smile shone through.

"Happy Birthday"

"Happy Birthday"

A drop of water made the two boys look up into the sky. Kouichi gasped.

"What!" Kouji responded immediately, alarmed at his brother's sudden terror.

"I… there … lips … yellow …" Kouichi rambled unintelligibly.

A streak of light consumed the sky then a blanket of rain engulfed the deck.