-1N/A: This one's for dearest Koji and Koichi, whom I love beyond reason. The final episode just had me crying my eyes out for them. Come on, I can't have been the only one who cried!

It's part fanfic, part poem that I wrote. Not a songfic; I guess you could call it a poemfic. Enjoy! Koji and Koichi forever!


"Too late. We're too late!"

After all the years Koji Minamoto had never allowed himself to shed a tear, there they were; tears came, uninhibited, blurring his vision like the terror and grief that clogged his senses, crippling him from within.

My brother! My brother….no, no, no--where….my…

"My brother!" he choked out, panic constricting his throat. "My brother. Is he--?" No! He can't be! "Where is he?"


Koji ran.

He'd ran all his life -- ran away. That was his method of self-preservation: run away from it. From anything that hurt, or anything that could hurt. Innate human contact in any form: friendship. Love. Caring. Anything that went too deep. Anything that demanded something of him -- a portion of his heart, the most fragile part of him; the heart he shielded, lest it sustain dents and cracks beyond repair.

He knew what could happen if he got too deep. He would he know when to come up for air? What could come of those feelings besides suffocation and heartache?

No heart beat within me,

Solitary as I was;

All valves shut off defensively,

Resistant, firm, intact.

That was his mentality. Was. This time he was running forward, running towards.

I opened those heart valves to you,

On oxygen I breathed and thrived;

For you I bore the burden of caring,

Of sharing blood and life.

My being, my blood, my veins were not just mine anymore,

Brother.

Now, what he'd shied away from, he was seeking. Needing. Running towards, his lungs steadily constricting more from fear than lack of breath.

"My brother. I can't tell you what it means to me to have met you."

Same here, bro. Same here.

"Koji. Take the spirits of Darkness."

He'd taken them, tentatively, enfolding them against his chest as he hugged himself, held himself together as Koichi fell apart, his fractal code unraveling, dissolving into nothing. Koji had held himself tight, compressing his ribs as if to keep himself from breaking, called out in a voice seared in anguish, choked with tears.

"Noooooo!" he'd wailed. "Koichi!" He'd hunched over, screwing his face up against the howl of anguish that threatened to tear him from the inside. His body gave a shuddering spasm. "Koichi…!"

It was beyond anything he'd ever experienced. Light awakened in him, as well as Darkness. Within himself, Darkness erupted, Light shone; yet they didn't clash. Different though they were, Light and Darkness didn't clash, but resonated in harmony, a force that ascended him to the next level of Digivolution.

"Protect this world. That's all I ask!"

And he did it. No matter how hopeless it seemed, when they were teetering on the verge of defeat, Koji kept at it. He didn't give up. He had his reasons; for many a reason, he wouldn't have forgiven himself if he'd admitted defeat. It would have been even more than doom for both worlds; it would have been an insult to Koichi's memory.

I did it, bro. I did it for you. You can't…

Dare he even think it? How could he let the thought cross his mind?

Don't die. You can't die not knowing.

He couldn't die. Koichi couldn't die. Not unless…

The Village of Beginnings. Swanmon. The Digi-Eggs. The memory came unbidden, breaching his subconscious like a glaring light.

Koji fumbled with a bottle, trying to keep hold on it while the baby Tsunomon sucked vigorously. He didn't trust himself with babies. They were too fragile, too needy. He didn't trust himself to hold something like that securely in his grasp.

Koichi held two soft snowball-like Digi-babies in his arms, marveling at them, their clear, innocent eyes gazing up in wonder.

"Man, they're amazing! I wonder if this is how you and I were fed when we were little babies."

"Huh?" Koji looked at him, saw the twins cradled in his arms. Against his façade, Koji melted, and a tender smile lit up his face. "Oh yeah, that's right. I keep forgetting that you and I were together when we were born."

That's right. Neither of them remembered, but they'd been together from day one: the day of their birth. Thus they had to be together in death; they just had to be. Koichi couldn't die, not with Koji still alive. He just couldn't.

One flower shreds two petals,

One black, one white,

Scattered by wind,

Reunited when it is darkest right before dawn.

Your name was foreign to me,

Yet the essence of you was never.

Brother.

If you die, then I should die too. We're not going unless we're together. Koichi, please. I'm coming. Wait for me. Hang on. Just hang on… I'm coming, bro.

Bro. He remembered: Nefertimon's library, walking up the floating stairs.

"Come on, bro. What's wrong?"

"I told you, nothing."

Something was wrong. He knew. Koichi, you knew, didn't you? You knew what was coming.

Koichi had refused to say, but Koji could tell. He saw it: the tenseness of his shoulders as they carried new weight. The anxiety in his eyes. Koji could tell. It was like looking into a mirror: he felt and recognized Koichi's anxiety more than his own. And he offered comfort the best way he knew how. A hand on the shoulder, a declaration so uncharacteristically personal.

"I'm really glad I came to this world, you know? Otherwise I might not have met you."

Koji just then became aware that his tears had progressed down his cheeks, pouring down his throat and neck, dripping from his chin. Indignantly he swiped at his stinging eyes as he ran.

"Thanks a lot, Koji."

"Sure thing. Anytime, brother."

Anytime…

You'd better not die, Koichi! You'd better not! You have no right -- no right to die when we've just met! Try as he might, he couldn't channel anger, defiance, or any form of strength into that silent prayer. He begged. He pleaded. Don't, please. Don't die, don't die, don't die, don't die…

He remembered seeing him for the first time -- the glimpses of him in Duskmon, the full form of him on the ground, Duskmon defeated.

There Koichi was, devoid of his Digital armor and power, rather dazed, timid, tentative. His enemy. This is my enemy, Koji told himself. Duskmon. This is Duskmon. He couldn't let himself fall for anything.

Koji's shields had gone up at maximum security, the valves of his heart clamped shut stubbornly. Who are you? he'd demanded. Well? Spill it! What are you doing here? All the while thinking, He looks exactly like me, right down to the fear, the wariness, hesitance, all those things I don't show. He's more myself than I am.

They'd sat in separate compartments on the train, both leaning forward, head down, both shamefully inept at brotherly interaction. In that sense, Koji, at the time, thought he might've been more relieved if Koichi had remained his enemy. In a way, that would've been easier.

How do you be a brother? Koji had wondered. What am I supposed to do? What should I say? What do I have to offer him? What does he expect?

It hadn't crossed his mind that Koichi was every bit as nervous and unaware as he was.

Yet surprisingly, it had all come naturally. On the battlefield, at least. It was all instinctive. No matter Koji's lack of ability in communication, one thing was certain: no harm should ever come to Koichi. That much was certain, and that much was easy. He felt that way about the others, but most of all about Koichi. It was beyond anything he'd ever felt for anyone; it took him, as a person, to a whole new level, the discovery of a brother. The isolation he'd always assumed to be his lot in life was gone. Just like that.

How can I see all that plagues,

All that breathes life into you and drains it out?

How can I feel all that you do,

All the burns and chills?

How is it that I don't recall

Your presence at my side,

Yet my blood whispers your name,

My soul bound to yours?

Not the slightest bit of hesitation accompanied him when he thrust himself between Koichi and harm's way. Nor did regret when he got injured in the process. Just as long as Koichi was alright.

Koji had never been any good at confronting someone who was upset, or at comforting them for that matter. Yet he saw Koichi was bothered, and the concern he felt inside manifested itself externally. He let Koichi know.

"Come on, bro. What's wrong? You can tell me."

How can I sense all that plagues,

All that breathes life into you and drains it out?

How can I feel all that you do,

All the burns and chills?

One flower shreds two petals,

One black, one white,

Scattered by wind,

Reunited when it is darkest right before dawn.

Your name was foreign to me,

Yet the essence of you was never.

Brother.

This realization shook Koji to the core. Koichi needed him now, he was certain of that. He was always fully aware of Koichi needing him. For being the Chosen Child of Darkness, there was a modest vulnerability about him that prompted Koji to shift into his protective mode.

And now, as Koji ran, breath rasping, choking on his own breath, he needed Koichi just as much.

"Koichi!"

Koji burst into the emergency room, unaware of masked heads turning upon his arrival; only of the glaring lights throwing distorted shadows upon Koichi on a hospital bed, looking smaller and more fragile than ever, shirtless, exposed like an open wound.

Koji put a hand to his bare shoulder, and goose-bumps rose on his arm as he felt him icy to the touch. Cold, immobile, like a corpse, sustained only by the oxygen pumped through the mask. His eyes open but blank, vacant; glassy as a mannequin. Koji's heart, which had been pumping full throttle to bursting, felt as though it stopped, just like that. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. There was no life in him, no beeping from the machine that monitored his existence.

"Koichi. Koichi, wake up. Koichi. You have to come back. I'm here now. It's okay. It's okay. Please."

He spoke as if Koichi was sleeping and afraid to wake up; as if a gentle reassurance could bring the life back into his eyes. I'm here now. Please. Please. Koichi. Don't leave me. Don't leave me. Don't leave me….

"Koichi…!" Welling tears glistened in the light's glare, and a lone teardrop fell on Koichi's forehead, dissolving into his flesh as warmth returned.

Koji's heart leapt into his throat as he witnessed rebirth; life refilling an empty shell of flesh, clarity reawakening in the blue of his eyes.

"Ko….Koji," he said hoarsely, barely audible. Koji numbly realized that his brother's face, the face they shared, was also glistening with tears, as life came flooding back into a reborn Koichi. A small smile lit Koichi's face as he willed his arm to move, shakily taking Koji's hand in his. "I…didn't think I'd see you again. But you're here."

Of course I'm here, Koji thought, too overcome to say it aloud. He enclosed his brother's trembling hand in both of his, a finger finding the pulse in his wrist, feeling it beating strong.

"What's happening?" Takuya exclaimed. "It's a miracle!"

Koji was taken aback; in his haste he'd completely forgotten the others. They were there too, all standing right behind him. His friends. Our friends. He thought Takuya was referring to Koichi; but he looked down just in time to see his D-Tector transform back into his cell phone.

Koichi sat up, shakily removed his oxygen mask. Carefully Koji took his brother into his arms, and they enveloped each other in darkness and light. They sobbed on each other's shoulders like little boys, chest to chest, hearts pumping in perfect unison, both leaning so they couldn't tell who was supporting who.

There were too many things he wanted to say, so much inside him beyond his ability to express; yet he felt he had to say something, anything that was at least close to what he was feeling.

"Everything's going to be okay now."

"Okay, nothing! It's going to be super-awesomely great!" Takuya exclaimed.

Koji sniffled and smiled broad through his tears. Yes, that pretty much summed it up.

One flower shreds two petals,

One black, one white,

Scatted by wind,

Reunited when it is darkest right before dawn.

Your name was foreign to me,

Yet the essence of you was never.

Brother.

Essentially you're me,

The piece of me I've searched for,

A void I couldn't put a name to.

The void previously nameless.

The void I now know was called

Koichi.

The void now filled.

Koichi.