Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon

Summary: Satomi meets Kouji's teacher, and comes to an understanding with Kouji himself. Pre-Frontier

For mudkipmon

It was after dinner when he mentioned it, and she was putting some of the leftovers into the fridge that Kouji could eat cold later. He was out walking his dog, and had called to inform them he would not make it home for the evening meal.

'Not that he wouldn't rush through it as fast as he could and go to his room if he were here,' Satomi thought sadly, wishing her stepson did not resent her so.

Kousei insisted he would acclimatise to her role as his mother soon. She disagreed with this prediction, and considered it insensitive to expect Kouji to accept her as he would have his biological mother. People were not made that way. He may not remember Kimura Tomoko, but he loved her. Shecould only ever be his fathers wife at best.

"I'm going on a business trip tomorrow. To Sapporo, should be back before the end of the week," he assured her.

She began to nod, and then frowned as she remembered something."Don't you have that meeting with Kouji's homeroom teacher on Thursday?" she asked him. Kousei wore a comical face of distress.

"I forgot. Its just a routine meeting though, to discuss his progress. Will you go in my place?" he asked her. Satomi stared at him, deadpan.

"Why? I've never gone to one before. His teacher knows you," she protested. Kousei smiled, and she was surprised how much it irritatedher.

"There won't be a problem Satomi. All you have to do is listen and agree with them," he said with a disarming smile. She did not smile back, unhappy at the burden he was placing on her. There did seem to be no way out of it, however.

"Alright. I'll go," she sighed in defeat.

He chuckled and kissed her cheek. "Thank you dear," he said, picking up his newspaper and making to leave the kitchen. Satomi suppressed the urge to blow a raspberry at his retreating back. Typical man.

"Tell Kouji I'm going to be filling in for you!" she called after him, smirking at the groan that followed. She loved her husband. But Satomi felt she was entitled to a little revenge for the discomfort both she and Kouji would suffer as a result of this.

She could tell that he had done the deed when a low mutter floated down the stairs to her followed by the sound of a door slamming. Satomi winced.

Kouji usually barely exchanged a sentence with her beyond 'Good morning' and 'Good night', and the days that followed passed without a break in routine. On the third day, it was storming and she was fastening the ties of her coat when Kouji came in through the front door, soaked to the skin. The dog padded after him, and Satomi sighed resignedly as the animal saw fit to shake dry all over the sofa.

"Hello Kouji," she said quietly. He stared at her, and she wondered how a child could make her feel so insignificant with a mere look.

"Hello," he muttered, grabbing the collar of the dog and unhooking the lead. The dog barked happily and promptly deserted his boy to investigate the contents of his dish.

Kouji snorted, and snagged a clean towel from the airing cupboard. "I'm just heading out, to speak to your homeroom teacher. I won't be long," she said calmly.

"Sure, whatever," he said uncaringly, and with that he flopped down onto the slightly damp couch, flicking the television on. She coughed awkwardly.

"There's onigiri in the kitchen if you're hungry," she said brusquely, eager to leave the oppressive atmosphere. The rain lashed and wind howled in the darkened sky but she still heard his sarcastic dismissal as the door clicked shut. Satomi struggled her way to the car and started it.

She knew the way to Kouji's school, although she had never been inside the grounds. A kindly janitor directed her to a cloakroom where she could leave her wet things and Satomi followed the signs until she found Kouji's class. Inside was a single woman so young that she seemed barely out of school herself. She smiled warmly at Satomi, and looked as if she did not mind being kept after hours on a day when it was storming so badly. She liked her.

The lady smiled welcomingly. "I am Fujita-san, and you are...?" she let the sentence hang. Satomi stumbled.

"Minamoto Satomi, I'm here about-"

"Kouji-kun. You are his stepmother, correct?" she asked. Satomi nodded, impressed. Fujita-san knew her students, and was diplomatic as well. Most people assumed that she was his mother, not taking into account that he looked nothing like her or Kousei. He was definitely his mother's son in that way.

"That is correct. His father will be away for a few days so I'm here in his place," she explained.

The teacher smiled understandingly. "He's lucky that he doesn't need to travel in this storm!" she laughed, and Satomi chuckled a little, knowing that in all likelihood Kousei had fallen asleep in his hotel room watching a movie.

"I have his grading card and academically he's doing very well in most classes, except English," she said apologetically. Satomi shook her head. Studying a language had been his father's idea, not Kouji's. He had wanted his son to be cultured, never mind that he himself could only speak a smattering of German.

"His father encouraged him to try it," she told the woman. Fujita's expression cleared.

"That explains it. He'll have to pass the end of term examination, although I suggest he choose another next year" she pressed. Satomi nodded, vowing to do this one thing for Kouji and persuade Kousei to allow him to forego the subject. He did not like it, and it was not playing to his strengths.

"I've shown you his results, now I'll move on to his behaviour. His other teachers report that he is quiet and attentive in class, but that he sometimes seems defiant. He has been assigned detention before for perceived attitude," she said regretfully.

"Other than that, my only point of concern is that he doesn't seem to have any close friends, and only talks as much as he needs to. I don't think he's being bullied but..." here she hesitated, and Satomi jumped in.

She hastened to reassure her. "I doubt its anything like that. Kouji just isn't the most outgoing of children," she told her, getting a smile in return.

"He's lucky to have you Mrs. Minamoto. And I can tell you you're raising a good kid there. He's a nice boy, underneath it all, and I enjoy having him in my class. Have you any questions before I call the next person in?" she asked pleasantly.

"No. Thank you for your time," Satomi said, and each bowed before she left the room, smiling faintly at the praise of her parenting skills.

Kouji was nowhere to be found when she arrived back at the house,

The kettle was whistling when Kouji appeared, bandana askew and hair mussed. He squinted in the bright light

"Hi, did you fall asleep?" she asked. He glared, although the effect was muted.

"No, I was resting my eyes," he said defensively. She held back a snicker. His father used the same excuse weekly.

She shrugged. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"I ate the food," he muttered. Satomi hummed to herself.

"Tea for two then," she murmured, busying herself in finding cups, jugs and other teatime paraphernalia. Kouji's eyes followed her around the room, and when he couldn't bear it anymore, he spoke.

"What did my Fujita-sensei say?" he asked tersely. She started pouring the tea.

Satomi smiled. "She said that you were doing well in all your classes, except English and that you should take another class next year," she said honestly.

"w" he muttered, slouching in the chair. Satomi clucked disapprovingly but said nothing.

"I'll tell Kousei when he gets back. You aren't going to do well in a subject you don't like" she said.

"...thanks" he said slowly. His expression didn't change, but Satomi detected a hint of warmth that hadn't been there before.

"There was nothing else, only that she was concerned that you don't socialize with your classmates enough, and that she was glad to have you in her class," she told him. He raised an eyebrow. She could not fault him, the statements were slightly contradictory. Satomi shrugged.

"That's all," she said, handing him his tea.

The boy frowned. "Thanks," he said coolly. She nodded, and turned back.

"Sato-Mom?" he bit out.

"You don't have to call me Mom, Kouji. I don't think it was fair of your father to make you promise that," she said firmly. Kouji looked taken aback, and then, this time she definitely saw a smile before she blinked and it was gone.

"Satomi, Do you really think Dad will let me give up French?"

She laughed."He will if he doesn't want to be cooking from now on," she said meaningfully. Kouji was aghast.

"He burns water, and he puts unbroken eggs in the microwave," he groaned.

Satomi laughed. "And the microwave has never been the same since, I agree. No I wouldn't do that. I doubt there's a hospital in the prefecture that's equipped for that kind of gastric trouble. But he hates cooking enough that if he thinks I will, then he'll do it," she said with certainty. Kouji snickered.

"Guess so. Hey, Satomi?" he said tentatively.

She turned. "Hm?"

Kouji looked away. "Thanks."

And she knew he wasn't thanking her for the tea or the promise to talk to his father this time. She didn't get full marks, but she had passed his test, and he'd accepted her as a part of his life. She could live with a B for now. She had time to improve her grade.