Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. All of the characters, etc, and a few lines in this fic belong to Toei Entertainment. This is just for fun and not for making a profit.
A/N: Well, this is my first Season Four fic, so hopefully you guys will like it. I chose to use the Japanese spelling of their names because I hate the way Kouichi is spelled in the english version, but I hate the way Kouji is spelled in the Japanese version. But, since I dislike Koichi more than Kouji (I prefer Koji) I decided to go with the ones I liked more. I apologize ahead of time if any of my info is wrong. Please review!
In Darkness, There is Light
Kouichi Kimura settled himself on a rather uncomfortable, wooden bench beneath a canopy of large tree branches and concentrated on the sound of the leaves rustling in the cool breeze blowing gently across the park. The district of Shibuya seemed unusually quiet that evening, and the sound of the wind brought what could be considered a rare, though much more frequent as of late, smile to his face. The sun was just starting to set slowly in the west, but for him the day was really only just beginning. His twin brother, Kouji Minamoto, was supposed to be meeting up with him there in about ten minutes, but he had decided to come a bit earlier to give himself some time to prepare for what was bound to be an awkward night, to say the least. It had been a little over two weeks since Lucemon had tried to take over the Digital World, and the human world, and although he had seen his brother almost every day since then, this was the first time Kouji would be staying the night at his house, and no matter how many times he tried to tell himself he was being silly, he could not help feeling just a little bit nervous about what might or might not happen within the next few hours.
Kouji, my brother. I never thought I would ever see you cry, but I was wrong. You cried for me, and you didn't give up, even though you thought you had lost me forever...
Kouichi impatiently brushed his raven hair out of his dark blue eyes and gazed thoughtfully at a passing cloud drifting leisurely across the pale blue sky now tinged with gold and orange. Takuya and the others had done a great job of filling him in about what had happened after he had given Kouji the Spirits of Darkness, but despite their efforts, there were still a few things about their story he did not think he would ever understand. His memory between the time he had disappeared from the Digital World and when he had woken up in the hospital was a complete blank, and for that he was grateful. More than likely he'd been unconscious the whole time, but considering the fact that no time had passed in the human world while they were in the Digital World, he couldn't have been unconscious for very long.
I was drifting between life and death, but somehow they brought me back. Kouji, my friends, Ophanimon...
According to Kouji, his body had shown absolutely no signs of life, but he had come back, and that was where his most important memories began. He had thought he would never see Kouji again, but obviously he'd been wrong to doubt himself and his brother so quickly. Kouji's face had been the first thing his eyes had focused on when he'd come awake in the hospital, and that was the only memory he cared about. Kouji's reaction was still very vivid in his mind, and even now, he could still feel the warmth of his brother's arms around him and feel the salty drops that had been Kouji's tears sliding down his shoulder. The rhythm of Kouji's heart beating in sync with his own still pulsed like a living entity in the depths of his mind, and the feel of Kouji's pale hands wrapped tightly around his own still felt so real to him that he often glanced at his left hand, the one Kouji had been holding, just to make sure his fingers were still free of the younger twin's grip. The last thing he wanted was to be lying in a hospital bed again.
We fought the same battle without even knowing it, and in the end, we saved each other. Mom, Dad, Satomi, Kouji...I finally have my family back...
The memory of his first meeting with the man who had ceased to be his father since he was a baby still played itself out over and over again in his head, and although the conversation had taken place almost a week and a half ago, his father's words were still very fresh in his mind. His dad had been remorseful and full of guilt when he and Kouji had confronted the man about their mother and the fact that they had virtually been kept hidden from one another practically their whole lives, and their father had been shocked, to say the least, at the sight of his slightly older son standing before him in the flesh. Kouichi had never felt so nervous in his life, and the only thing that had kept him from running out of the house was the comfort of Kouji's arm wrapped around him in a protective embrase. The three of them had exchanged many words, angry shouts, tears of sadness, and even a few laughs that day, and in the end they had agreed to try and works things out. The three of them had spent as much time as possible together over the last week and a half, and although they still had their awkward moments, they were becoming much more comfortable around each other and acting more the way a family was supposed to act, instead of treating each other like strangers.
He told me he loved me, that he's always loved me. It's a start, and we all have to begin somewhere in order to make up for our mistakes.
His father had even started speaking to his mother again, and after a long talk, the two of them had decided to pursue joint custody of both their sons, which meant he and Kouji would be moving back and forth between both parents, and more importantly, he would have an opportunity to spend more time with his twin. He had even gotten a chance to spend a full day with his stepmother, Satomi, and although he'd been nervous at first, she had done everything she could to get him to open up. They had learned a lot about each other that day, and surprisingly he had actually grown quite fond of her. She had been sympathetic and understanding, and she had told him she would have no problem loving him as much as she loved Kouji. After all, she knew what it felt like to be betrayed by someone you loved, and Kouichi knew that was why she was doing her best to forgive her husband for failing to tell her about Tomoko and the stepson she had never had a chance to meet, until now. Surprisingly enough, his mother got along quite well with Satomi, and he often came upon the two of them exchanging news about Kouji and himself.
Kouji, of course, was still getting used to the fact that his biological mother was indeed alive and doing well, for once, and the two of them could often be found talking softly to one another and enjoying each other's company. It had been hard for Kouji, at first, because he had promised his father he would only call his stepmother 'Mom', but Satomi had told the younger twin quite firmly there was no reason why he couldn't have two mothers, and since then he had been calling both his stepmother and his biological mother 'Mom', which Tomoko hadn't objected to in the slightest.
Still, the fact that Kouji had slipped and called Tomoko 'Mom' before Satomi had spoken to him had not been lost on Kouichi, and the memory still made him smile. It had happened on the day when he had first brought his mother to the very park where he was currently waiting for Kouji, and his brother and mother had been spending a lot of time together ever since. The five of them weren't exactly what you would call a big happy family yet, but they were getting there, and that was the most important part.
"Daydreaming again, are you?" a voice suddenly whispered softly in his ear. "You really shouldn't do that, Kouichi. It makes me nervous. Look what happened the last time you kept spacing out on me."
Kouichi felt a hand come to rest lightly on his shoulder, and jerking around in surprise, he found himself gazing into his twin brother's deep blue eyes. Kouji's lips twitched into a small smile, and Kouichi felt his face heat up. Thankfully, by that time, the sun had almost completely disappeared behind the treetops, but despite the sudden gloom of twilight, he was positive his twin hadn't failed to notice the faint blush on his cheeks. "Kouji, you scared me! I...I didn't hear you come up."
The warmth of Kouji's hand slipped away from his shoulder, and after a brief moment of silence, the younger twin slowly circled the bench and sat down next to him. He could feel Kouji watching him, and the intensity of his brother's gaze caused the pink blush staining his cheeks to become even more visible against his pale skin. "You...you startled me."
Kouji raised his dark eyebrows and his sapphire eyes began to sparkle with something close to amusement. "Kouichi, I was making enough noise to wake the dead. In fact, I'm pretty sure half the population of Shibuya must have heard me by now. No offence, bro, but you're getting as bad as Takuya, and you know what he's like. Half the sky could be falling and he wouldn't even know it until it bounced off his thick head! You haven't been waiting here long, have you?"
Kouichi quickly shook his head and proceeded to gaze nervously at his hands, which were resting lightly in his lap. He knew he should probably say something, but for some reason he seemed to have lost his ability to speak. With everything that had happened in the Digital World and the flurry of activity they had endured over the past two and half weeks, it had been hard for both of them to really be themselves and to find time to focus on their relationship as brothers. They had rarely had the opportunity to be alone together in the Digital World, or in the human world, for that matter, and now that he finally had Kouji all to himself, he didn't really know what to say.
The only time we really had a chance to be alone together was in Ophanimon's castle, and I hadn't exactly been in the mood to talk that day, despite Kouji's efforts to get me to open up. What if...what if he changes his mind about me? A full night is a long time to start having second thoughts, especially considering the fact that there's still so much we need to learn about ourselves, and more importantly, about each other. Can we really do this? Can we really overcome all of the pain that has haunted both of us for so long?
"Kouichi, what's wrong?"
How does he always know when something's bothering me? Can he really read my thoughts so easily?
Kouichi turned slowly to look at his twin and managed a weak smile. "I...it's nothing really..."
Kouji let out a loud snort and tugged impatiently on his navy blue bandana. "Kouichi, we aren't twins for nothing, you know. Don't you remember what I said to you when we were in the Digital World?"
You know...I've been thinking a lot...about the two of us meeting here and all. It's kind of strange when you think about it. I mean...really, what are the chances of that? I guess it must be destiny. We are light and darkness, after all...
We're bound together. That's how I know there's something bothering you...
"What is it, Kouichi? You know you can tell me anything. I can feel something's wrong. You have that look on your face again, and ...I..."
Kouichi, I know! I'm not guessing, I know! When you're hurting, I feel it too! When you suffer, I suffer along with you. Don't you know that?
"Kouichi, will you please say-"
"I remember what you told me. How could I ever forget something so important?"
Kouji stared silently at him for a long moment, and glancing down, he realized his hands were clenched together tightly in his lap. He was just starting to think he might have said something wrong when Kouji suddenly turned away from him and muttered something he was unable to understand. "Um...Kouji? Did you say something?"
"No, what makes you think I did?"
Kouichi hesitated, and shifting closer to his brother, he gently placed his hand on the younger twin's shoulder. Kouji blinked at his sudden touch, and to his complete astonishment, a pink blush began to spread across his brother's face. Kouji tugged rather harder than necessary on his dark ponytail and glared at the trees as if they, too, were accusing him of lying.
It works both ways, brother. I know you have something on your mind right now, and I'm not going to stop bugging you until you tell me what it is!
"How did you do it?" Kouji finally blurted, the words exploding out of his mouth as if he had been waiting a long time to say them.
Kouichi shook his head in confusion and frowned at the stubborn look on his twin's face. "Do what?"
"You know what I'm talking about! It's never been...easy for me to...to express my feelings to other people, but the minute you walked into my life I suddenly starting blabbing everything. How did you manage to do that when nobody else ever could?"
The gloomy expression on Kouji's face was so comical, it was all Kouichi could do to stop himself from laughing. Somehow he managed to keep his amusement under control, but despite his efforts, he was unable to prevent his lips from twitching into a small smile. "Why, bro? Is that a bad thing?"
Kouji slowly turned to look at him, and he found himself gazing into his twin's sapphire eyes. The two of them stared silently at each other for what seemed like an eternity, but was really only less than a minute, and before Kouichi could stop himself, he reached out and placed his fingers against the smooth skin of Kouji's left cheek. Even after all this time, he still found himself unable to believe just how much they looked alike. Kouji was a mirror image of himself, minus their haircuts, and sometimes it could be a little bit unnerving to find his own face staring back at him, especially when that face looked so serious, like it did now.
He gently ran his fingers down Kouji's cheek and was about to repeat his question, but before he could say anything, Kouji jumped at his unexpected touch and quickly jerked away from him. Kouichi immediately snatched his hand back and bit his lip. He hadn't meant to make his brother uncomfortable, but judging from the look on Kouji's face, that was exactly what he had done. "Kouji, I...I'm sorry. I didn't mean..."
I thought he understood, but maybe I was wrong. He thinks I'm weird enough as it is already, and of course I just had to go and make everything worse. I can't even imagine what he must be thinking right about now. Why do I always have to go and ruin everything all the time? It's always my fault when something goes wrong. Look what happened with Duskmon...
"Huh?" Kouichi stared at his twin in confusion and let out a gasp when Kouji suddenly grabbed him by the wrist and gave his fingers a tight squeeze. He stared at his hand as if he had never seen it before and shifted nervously on the bench. Somehow he managed to summon enough courage to look up, and he flinched when he realized Kouji was glaring at him. "Kouji, what-"
"Don't be stupid, Kouichi! Why are you apologizing to me? You haven't done anything wrong! I'm the one who should be apologizing. I...I didn't mean to pull away like that. I just...you surprised me, that's all. I wasn't expecting something like that and it...caught me off guard."
Kouji suddenly leaned closer to him, and he felt his brother's cheek come to rest gently against his shoulder. The younger twin's dark hair tickled his nose, and he smiled when he realized Kouji was clearly trying unsuccessfully to hide the embarrassed look on his face. "Kouji, you don't have to-"
"I know," Kouji whispered softly in his ear. "I feel the same way. It's probably not a big deal for twins who have spent their whole lives together, but we never had that chance, and it's going to take some time to get used to the fact that we share the same face, and a lot of other things, too. I've always thought there was no one else in the world who looked like me, as is the case with most people, but then I met you, and your existence changed everything, but in a good way. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about sharing a part of me with someone else, but now I realize it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I like being a twin. It makes me feel...special, and no one else has ever made me feel that way before. I feel close to you in a way I could never share with anyone else. I like that because I know I can tell you anything, and you'll always understand what I"m trying to say."
Kouichi squeezed his eyes shut and buried his face against his twin's shoulder. Kouji really did understand, after all. How could he have doubted his twin so quickly? "Kouji, I feel the same way."
"I know. Kouichi, I think I understand now why I was able to open up to you with ease when we were in the Digital World, even though we didn't know each other that well. It's because most of the time I didn't have to say anything. You always seem to understand my feelings and what I'm thinking, even when I haven't said a single word. Now that I think about it, it does make things a lot easier. If only I could do the same thing with everyone else."
Kouichi pulled back slightly and gave his brother a sharp poke in the ribs. "You know, it isn't going to kill you to open up once in a while. Look how much your relationship with Takuya and the others has improved since you finally decided to stop being so stubborn and let them be your friends."
"Hey, I could say the same thing about you, brother!"
Kouichi frowned at his twin, but Kouji pretended not to notice. Instead, the younger twin smirked at him, and he felt his face heat up. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Do you still want me to answer your question?"
"No, I already have my answer. I tell you everything because it's so easy, and I know I'll never have to worry about you betraying my secrets. It's...it's definitely a good thing."
"I'm glad you think so. I've wanted to tell you the same thing...but..."
"Kouichi? I wish you could have seen how I acted when I first came to the Digital World. You and the others have changed me so much, and I'm glad. I'll always be in your debt, and the same goes for the rest of our friends, but for once I don't mind having that sort of thing hanging over my head. In fact, it feels kind of...nice.."
"I know what you mean, but, Kouji, I sort of did see glimpses of how you acted before. I saw you in the human world several times before the whole Duskmon thing happened, and even in the Digital World I felt your anger, pain, and sadness. You were lost, just like me, but somehow we were able to fight through all of that and find each other again."
Kouji nodded slowly and gazed thoughtfully at the dark blue sky. "I've always felt as if there was something missing in my life, even when I was very young. At first I thought it was because of my mother, but then I realized there was more to it than that. It was almost as if I knew..."
Kouichi shivered and wrapped his arms around himself in an effort to ward off the sudden chill creeping into the air around them. Night had fallen without him even realizing it, but the darkness did not bother him. In fact, it felt kind of comforting, and even though he could not see Kouji's face very clearly, he knew his twin was smiling. The two of them were no longer facing each other, but they were sitting close enough together that he could literally feel the warmth of Kouji's shoulder soaking into his skin. It drove away the cold air moving steadily down his spine, and he felt his heart begin to pound frantically in his chest. "Did you find what you were looking for?"
"What do you mean?"
He felt Kouji's eyes on him, but he didn't dare turn his head for fear of what the expression on his brother's face might reveal. "You said you felt as if there was something missing from your life. Did you find it?"
"I think you already know the answer to that question."
Kouichi gently brushed away the sudden tears stinging his eyes, and turning slightly, he rested his cheek against his twin's shoulder. "I found what I was looking for, too. It's like...I feel whole again."
"It feels pretty good, doesn't it?"
"Kouji...I need to apologize for something."
"Didn't I tell you you're not supposed to apologize to me?"
"Yes, but this is something I have to do."
Kouji let out a soft sigh and slipped an arm around his shoulders. "I wish you wouldn't, but obviously nothing I say is going to make you change your mind. And Takuya says I'm stubborn."
"I'm sorry I ended up causing you so much trouble. I'm sorry I made you worry about me. I'm sorry about...about everything. You were trying to save the Digital World, and I...I didn't do much of anything. All I did was distract you and cause a lot of problems. Lucemon could have won because of me."
"Kouichi, the world doesn't revolve around you, you know, and I'm pretty sure the Digital World doesn't either."
Kouji laughed at the expression on his face, and he felt his brother's arms slip around him in a tight hug. Kouji's presence was warm and comforting, and the younger twin's surprising, yet not so surprising, display of affection brought a smile to his lips. Kouji's becoming much more adventurous when it comes to showing affection. I guess I could learn a few things from him.
"Kouichi, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. You were there with us in spirit, even though we had no idea what had happened to you. I could feel you there with me, and that's the only reason why I was able to stay focused and help the others defeat Lucemon. Without your Spirits of Darkness, we wouldn't have been able to spirit evolve into Susanoomon, and Lucemon would have won. Without your presence, I wouldn't have been able to do what I did. Your spirit, and the feel of your heart beating somewhere inside my head, were what gave me strength, and they were the things that made me keep desperately hoping you were still alive. Don't you understand, Kouichi? We saved the Digital World because of you. That's why you have no reason to apologize. If anything, we should be thanking you."
Kouichi wrapped his arms tightly around his brother's waist, and they clung to each other as if afraid the other would disappear if they let go. After a long moment of silence, Kouichi turned slightly and placed his lips close to his brother's ear. "Kouji?"
"Next time I get to save you."
Kouji raised his eyebrows and smiled slightly. "What makes you think there's going to be a next time?"
"There's always a next time. Don't get me wrong, I know we can trust Bokomon to keep things under control, but with Neemon by his side, who knows what might happen? Besides, as much as I like Ophanimon, she and the other celestial digimon have made their share of mistakes, too."
Kouji started to laugh, and the two of them reluctantly pulled away from each other. "Come on, Kouichi, we should get home before our mother starts to wonder where we are."
Home. I don't just have one home now. I have two.
Kouichi accepted the hand Kouji offered him, and getting to his feet, the two of them proceeded to make their way down the street. His twin's arm settled comfortably around his shoulders, and smiling at the dark sky, he could not help wondering why he had been so nervous about Kouji coming over to spend the night at his house. It wasn't like he had to worry about awkward silences or anything like that. After all, most of the time they could speak without words, and ever since they had come back from the Digital World, the atmosphere around them was always comfortable. That was the way it was supposed to be, and he knew they were going to get along just fine.
"Hey, Kouichi? You won't tell anyone what happened here tonight, will you?"
"Not if you don't want me to, but...why not?"
Kouji lowered his eyes to the ground and shrugged his shoulders. "It's stupid, but...I'd like to keep this just between us, if you don't mind."
Kouichi poked his twin gently in the stomach, and after a brief hesitation, Kouji turned to look at him. They smiled at each other, and Kouichi knew his brother understood, even though he hadn't actually said anything. They headed down the street with their arms around each other's shoulders, and Kouichi couldn't help but smile at the dark sky hanging above him. Somehow, thanks to a strange world full of strange, yet friendly, creatures called digimon, and the strength of the Legendary Warriors, he had managed to get what he had wanted all along, and in the end, so had his mother.