Here's the last chapter. Enjoy, and thank you to everyone who's read this fic, as well as anyone who reads this later. You guys keep me going. And giving me inspiration too.
Just an explanation for a statement I (via Kouichi) make later on, I made Kouichi's birthday on the 17th of April, while Kouji's is on the 18th while they're only two minutes apart. The explanation is that Kouichi is born one minute to midnight on the 17th while Kouji is born one minute past midnight, making him two minutes younger and his birthday on the 18th. That also makes the two older than both Takuya and Izumi, as well as Tomoki. And don't ask me why, I just felt like doing that.
BTW, did anyone manage to pick up the Darker than Black reference in this chapter?
Disclaimer: If I owned Digimon, my grade average wouldn't be higher than my amount of sleep, as Kilarra pointed out. Or the grade average I'm aiming for in any case.
Anyway, read and enjoy the last chapter of Silver Lining. And my apologies if it's not up to scratch. I've been sick for 'bout a week, and unfortunately still am. Though it was rather funny when everyone at school thought I was on my deathbed when I went home early on Thursday...but enough about me. Enjoy this final installment.
They always fought. Always bickered. But they never meant to hurt their best friends. Or go that one step too far. But at least they found their silver lining...a resolution.
Kouji M & Takuya K
I was somewhere, but I didn't know where. I couldn't; it was the kind of place shrouded and protected by the mysteries that encased, that only became known when knowledge of it could not go past the boundaries unable to be transcended.
My memory is blurred, only scarce images and emotions were retained. I remembered darkness, light, and the fire that burned brighter which each passing moment and inflamed the light with its own power, burning away the darkness, then bringing it back even as the two contrasting forces came together in coexistence, just like they had with the battle with Lucemon.
Wind, lightning, ice...and the other elements too, in the equality they existed. Like the web of life as I always called it, the forces of nature had been balanced before it could break entirely.
I once said that fire and light when hand in hand. And what I remember of this, my second coma, validated that. Some people say I'm empathic, and maybe I am. I don't know. But either way, I am sensitive to others emotions, so I could feel the confliction of emotions in our group, even when we were apart, and before, I could easily feel the strain when Takuya and Kouji fought.
But now I could not.
We were a team; for all thoughts and purposes save blood, we were a family, closer than most people ever got in a lifetime.
Interconnected, as all else is, and the bonds between us were stronger than ever. After, the elastic band had strengthened on the rebound.
I can't be sure how long it was, it felt like eons passing like a millisecond, though Takuya did mention it was a week and a half. Not that I don't believe him; it just didn't feel like that, especially as exhausted as I was when sound became audible for me again.
Light shone through my eyelids, and I groaned slightly, struggling to shift away from it even as pain shot through my skull.
Another gasp escaped me as the pain registered in my mind, which still felt the need for sleep though I was sure I had been sleeping. Or rather, I had been sure.
'Kouichi!' I heard five voices cry out at the same time, which mind you, for someone whose head is pounding, is not a good thing at all. Despite the relief they obviously felt, it just made my head hurt more.
Though the insistency in their joint tone led me to force my eyes open, squinting against the glare of the afternoon light reflecting off the walls.
It took me awhile to register why the scene seemed so...odd. After all, the last thing I remember was being at the station, the floor rushing up to-I cut off that train of thought. My head and heart both began pounding rather rapidly at the memory. They still do as a matter of fact. Once is certainly not appealing, but twice just makes it that much worse.
Anyway, the point was I had been at Shibuya Station. So then why were there white walls and...
And then it hit me. The hospital.
'Ni-san? Are you okay?'
I blinked up at Kouji, who had abandoned whatever he had been doing and was by my side by the time it took for me to figure out my general bearings, before struggling into a sitting position, only succeeding after a few minutes when my twin helped me up.
'My head hurts,' I replied, knowing well that he would see through a lie in an instant with my mind as fuzzy as it was then. 'But otherwise, I'm fine.'
'That's a relief,' Kouji sighed, slumping almost bonelessly into a vacant chair as the others swarmed around me, save Takuya. For a moment, I wondered why those two excluded themselves from the group hug, but it hit me soon enough, and if I was in a better condition, it would have hit me far sooner.
I quickly muttered a reply to Tomoki, before whispering a request into Izumi's ears, knowing that she, at least, understood even if the other two did not. Indeed, she did, and in a minute or to, had disappeared with Junpei and Tomoki to inform my parents (or my mother and Kouji's parents-whichever way you want to take it), leaving Takuya, Kouji and I in the hospital room alone.
No-body said anything for awhile; each person was waiting for another to speak. Kouji and Takuya exchanged glances, before shifting their gaze elsewhere, and I just stared from one to another to the first again.
After a while, I sighed, seeing as neither of the two seemed to be saying something any time soon. Normally, I don't start the conversation, but that was a special case. Besides, with Takuya especially, this was not normal behaviour.
So I said the first random thing which popped into my mind. 'That's the second I've fallen down the stairs partially because of you 'touto-san,' I said good-naturedly, though my throat was dry so it came out as more of a rasp.
Thinking back, that wasn't exactly the brightest thing I had ever said, but it at least did its job and kick-started the conversation.
Though not in the way I had wanted, as he turned his head away in guilt.
I knew how he felt. How I had felt when the influence of the tainted spirits of darkness had been purged from me, when I had been freed from Cherubimon's influence to see all the pain and suffering I had caused. When he had been the victim searching for his remuneration in the way of knowledge while I had been the one downing in my guilt, and Takuya had watched on.
My eyes met his for a moment, and I could see he felt just as guilty, though he didn't show it to that extent. For a moment, he held my gaze, his brown eyes searching my own for some sort of sign, before he offered a hand to me.
'Gomen nasai,' he said, in a tone slightly softer than normal, yet as strong and firm as it had ever been. 'Forgive me?'
'Of course.' The brunette reached out and grasped the hand that lay outside the coverlets, considering as I didn't have the energy to grasp it myself, and he had seen that.
Kouji still hadn't moved from his position, and I found myself wishing, not for the first time, that I had Takuya's courage. Only later Kouji told me he had been wishing the same thing. That wasn't so far off though, as the bond between them, now fortified stronger than ever, could go so much further than what it was capable of before, as the restraints they themselves had built held them back.
I turned back to Takuya, which what I presumed, and hoped, was an inquisitive look on my face.
The addressed brunette looked, understandably, a bit uncomfortable, seeing as though I had put him on the spot, but he nonetheless proceeded to explain what had happened during the time I had been unconsciousness.
And then he had to repeat it all, because the first time round, all that had registered was the first phrase, the rest having been borne on deaf ears.
'Well, you were unconscious for one and a half weeks...'
I was out of the hospital a week later, with orders not to over-exert myself. That unfortunately meant another few days of bed rest, at home this time, and another week off from school, so I had a lot of work to catch up on when I finally got back after nearly a month absence. Kouji and I had finally talked, with a little more help from Izumi, Tomoki and Junpei's collaborative effort, and while the conversation had wound up scraping several uncomfortable boundaries, everything had been settled.
And while Takuya and Kouji still fought occasionally, it was by far and in between, and more playful, after the initial awkwardness in which they struggled to remain cordial to one another to the extent they were unable to maintain their current friendship brushed over by the sheer unease of it all...a rather amusing story to hear as it occurred while I was unconscious. After all, they friendship was based on the similarities bound by their differences, and every time they disagreed, their reconciliations brought them closer together.
But they compromised, and we were all content. The discomfort brought on by their too frequent squabbles was gone, which left other minds free to think about matters involving one or the other without the dreary cloud hovering over them.
The cloud that had found its silver lining.
...speaking of, Izumi eventually did accept Takuya's request for a date...after Kouji had to endure an earbashing from the said female.
As for the anniversary, we wound up making up for it the day before I was to return to school again. Which is why Kouji, Takuya and I were on our way to the stairs again, since the elevators were still out of order.
'You wouldn't happen to be planning something, would you?'
Kouji's voice had a slightly suspicious tone to it. Rightly so, as I was grinning, rather mischievously too (you'll see why in a minute or so).
'Iie...why would you say that 'touto-san?'
It was Takuya who answered. 'You have one weird look on your face.'
I laughed a bit awkwardly at that. It was rather difficult to hide, or evade. Even if I knew exactly what they were thinking, and was purposely leading them along.
...aren't I allowed to play a little prank on my little brother and his best friend?
Even if I am older by two minutes...though our birthdays are on two separate days.
But that's beside the point.
At the top of the stairs came the awkward part: the fact that none of us wanted to go down them. Kouji and Takuya didn't because they thought I was going to push them down or something similar, though I only found out for sure a few minutes later, and I didn't because...well, I'd think it's rather obvious.
...I think I've developed climacophobia after two near deaths on the same stairs.
If only those stairs didn't exist, or had railings to grip...
Anyway, after about five minutes, we were yet to move, and Tomoki, Junpei and Izumi stared up at us from the bottom floor, though they didn't say anything.
Though the next minute, they were beside us, and I felt Tomoki's small hand slip into my tighter fingers as he led me slowly and carefully down.
'See Kouichi,' he grinned up at me, in his innocent way. 'Nothing to be scared of.'
I grinned back, despite the unease. After all, the worst phobia can be banished in the end, with time, patience, and most importantly: friendship.
Then the mischievous grin came back about ten minutes later (or longer, I can't really remember) after we found ourselves in the basement where the Trailmon had taken the others to the Digital World and I had caught up with what I had missed.
'You know,' my twin's voice mumbled near my shoulder. 'I could have sworn you were going to do something.'
I laughed at that, the earlier fear easily banished with the joy of remembrance which hung over us, even as snippets of other conversations reached us.
Then I was laughing again, but only because Takuya had somehow tripped over something and fallen onto Kouji, succeeding in knocking them both to the floor.
'I didn't do anything,' I said immediately afterwards. Which I hadn't really. Takuya just happened to trip at that moment, despite how unbelievable that sounded.
Who knows, perhaps it was karma. Or something of the likes.
The other three were laughing too. After all, it wasn't everyday you saw the two most famous boys in the neighbourhood sprawled on the ground in a compromising position like that, considering my poor brother was sandwiched under his best friend.
And when the laugher finally slowed to a stop, Kouji managed to extract himself from under the brunette, his face as red as the other's jacket, and face.
'It's not funny guys,' he muttered, thoroughly embarrassed, despite the fact that there was only the four of us to see.
And then the four of us were chortling again, the laughter masking their simultaneous exclamations of both embarrassment and indignation.
Post Author's Notes:
And that finishes it up. Just thought I'd add a bit of humour at the end there. And if you want to know what Kouichi was grinning about, he was planning to trip one or the other anyway, fate just beat him to it.
The fic I planned to start after completing this was Immortal, which is the sequel to In Memoriam... (summary and explanation are in the post Author's Note of In Memoriam...) However I was also planning on starting another story, The Bonds of Friendship after completing Brother, Hear Me Cry, so the two should be up soon. Hopefully some time next month. Emphasis on the hopefully there, since I think all the internals are due in next month too, which means we're going to be overflooded with schoolwork.
The Bonds of Friendship actually works on an idea branching out from this story, as in what if the teams differences caused them to go too far with one another and the bonds of friendship to break (with a little help of course). Kouichi, being the new addition, isn't as affected as the others, so the onus falls on him to bring them back together, while he gets the honour of leading a new team with the other four Legendary Warriors, and the dishonour of something else...
Anyway, I'll just leave the summary here for you all to enjoy till then.
The Bonds of Friendship
Post frontier. They were so close; no one ever imagined those bonds would break. Least of all him. But they do, and with the fate of two worlds at the balance, he is forced to take drastic measures to fix them...and pay the price.
Anyway, till next time everyone.