A soft, pleasant wind blew through red locks as Koushirou gazed at the battlefield. Soon, like all scars in the Digital World, there would be nothing left. Here, in this world, everything fixed itself eventually. The sun shined brighter, the clouds floated merrily, and the torn dirt sewed itself up until the wounds healed completely and faded away into the past. Only memories could touch them there.
Koushirou wondered if he was selfish to wish for the wounded ground to stay in efficacy. Was he selfish to want this one memory, as painful as it was, to stand against time, against reconfiguration to remind the world, both digital and real, of a boy who would give everything, of a boy with a smile that could lead armies and a passion for adventure that was eclipsed by no other? Koushirou wished for Taichi's last moment to be branded in the ground, stable, eternal, and unyielding, unlikely to disappear as it would when recorded in feeble, fickle human brain tissue.
Wishes, however, were intangible. Koushirou knew more than most that nothing could stop nature from doing what it was created to do. The ground he saw, scarred from that terrible battle, would someday, maybe soon, maybe decades from now return to a sea of unending green held down by impossibly blue skies in which clouds drifted overhead. It would once more be a land of peace because nature, more so in the Digital World, had the ability to forget its wounds, to callously wash itself of the pain, to ignore the burn of the lost life that once thrived within it like a baby thrives within its mother's womb. But Koushirou still wished. He wished with his entire being for that power, but in the end he just was. Human. Insignificant. Fragile in comparison.
Sometimes he wondered if a real form of nature existed in the Digital World. The things he saw, the telephones on beaches, the drifting glaciers, the controlling black gears and spires; were they all truly a part of nature? Yes, at least, Koushirou thought so. There was birth and death in this world. There was happiness, green, fresh, and fruitful that nature, a sometimes peaceful, sometimes unstable thing was supposed to have. Despite being a digital fig mentation at birth, the Digital World had exploded with its own life, cultures, and landscapes. It was this strange world that beckoned for salvation years ago, unmindful that help came in the form of seven scared children. The only laws that mattered in the Digital World were power and destiny. The Chosen Children certainly time and time again proved themselves holders of both.
So those children saved the worlds. Over and over, again and again, like they were on some grand adventure, never mind that death lurked around every corner, at every ledge, in every new face there encountered. Sometimes they came close to defeat, but always, always, their teamwork and Digimon pulled through.
Koushirou himself was fascinated with a world that could thrive within the digital currents of his own reality without detection for so long. His fascination was shared by his friends, but for different reasons. Taichi, he thought with a smile, always rushed into new adventures like there was nothing to lose even though he was very aware of the consequences. Taichi's faith, his exuberance and confidence was perhaps the only strength that never failed the digidestined even if that same rash quality probably played a major part in Taichi's sacrifice. When Koushirou's theories were disproven, when Sora's love faltered, when Jyou's reasonable solutions failed to solve the problem, when Yamato's conflicting friendship became stifling, only Taichi's will was strong enough, courageous enough to dive when others would hesitate upon the edge. It was that confidence, that utter disregard for fate and the established rules of nature and certainty of success that made the rest of the Chosen Children depend on their leader.
Koushirou depended too. He depended on Taichi for strength, companionship, and more recently passion. Koushirou depended until he saw that Taichi was breaking under the expectations he'd laid upon his own shoulders. So Koushirou coaxed Taichi into depending on someone else for a change. He coaxed, pleaded, and kissed, or attempted to, the burdens off of his friend's shoulders.
Koushirou could still feel the brunette. He could still feel his solid, lean body squirming beneath him as the red head straddled his childhood friend that day in his room after school. Afterwards, gazing into those half-lidded eyes and hearing Taichi's confession, they had kissed and touched and explored each other's bodies in ways they'd never even explored their own. Koushirou could still feel the aching burn of Taichi's fingertips as one hand clutched slim hips and the other bravely inched its way under the red head's shirt skimming slowly, sensuously, up his spine. He could still feel how breathtaking and rigid Taichi was below him as they kissed and rubbed in delicious pleasure that was both physical and something much more, much deeper than anything they'd ever experienced before. Koushirou loved Taichi and he thought Taichi might love him in return. Those few short, enraptured moments would lie forever simmering in his heart, reminding him of fleeting passion and the agony of what could have been, what he could have had.
Now Taichi was gone. He was dead and, unlike a Digimon, never to be reborn. For three days Koushirou sat in his room begging the memories to stop, clutching locks of red pineapple hair in desperation, pleading with the universe for Taichi's screams, his last agonizing moments, to stop echoing within the walls of his mind. At times Koushirou screamed himself hoarse, heedless of his parents who finally broke down his bedroom door in worry. He screamed as they watched, helpless, in anger that something he cherished, something he loved and breathed like air could be ripped away from him while he could do nothing but watch. He cursed a world that would place the burdens of nature upon the frail shoulders of children without regard to the naïve devotion to the world from whence they came. He sobbed, cried, thrashed, and destroyed the room, his place that his parents gave him in torrents of rage because he was weak. WEAK! So weak that he allowed Taichi to sacrifice himself when Koushirou would gladly offer himself as a replacement.
Then, on the third day Koushirou left despite his parents' protests and came here, to the field in which everything went wrong. He saw its barren dirt in kinship because surely this scarred, burned, broken ground is how he would appear if someone could rip him apart and peer into the depths of his heart right now.
The rest of the Chosen Children were a mess, he knew. All of the digidestined were connected to Taichi in some way. He in the Digital World, thanks to their efforts over the years everywhere was peaceful save this one field and soon even the rip in this land would close up. Soon, even the battle that could very well have broken the Chosen Children would cease to disrupt the harmony of the world they'd vowed years ago to protect. It would bring a peace Taichi would be absurdly proud of. He would have turned to his friends with that ever present grin lighting up chocolaty eyes silently saying, "Hey! Look what I've done! Isn't it great? Isn't it everything we've ever wanted? "
And of course they all understood. Every digidestined from the first and the second generation would have made the same choice if it meant the lives of his or her friends or the future of the Digital World that was awe inspiring in its own right. That it was Taichi who sacrificed the most made even more sense. He'd always been willing to give of himself, to give too much of himself and now, as Koushirou looked over the landscape and his feet touched the spot where Taichi stood his last, the Chosen Child of Knowledge knew that Taichi did not have anything left to give. The brunette's essence was now within the wind that caressed his face and wrapped around him like an embrace.
And all of a sudden, just as suddenly as Koushirou made the decision to return here to this field, he was angry all over again. All his known life he'd solved problems with rules and formulas, but there was no solving "dead" because it was not a puzzle. Sure, he could ask "Why?" He could postulate what comes after. He could ponder Taichi's motives, but death just was. There were no amounts of niceties or platitudes, graphs or programs that could or would give him relief when he woke up each day knowing Taichi was gone from his life.
Koushirou's anger simmered because for all his intelligence, for all his abilities, he was still unable to keep himself from losing those precious to him and now the Digital World floated its healing grounds and puffy clouds mockingly in his face as if to say, "Taichi gave it all to me. It does not matter that he gave it all for you. I win. I win." With an almost inhuman scream Koushirou collapsed to his knees and buried his fingers into the loose dirt beneath him. The tears that rolled down his cheeks traveled well-worn paths. Whether they were angry or anguished now Koushirou did not really care.
Even now, around his clinched fists the Digital World healed itself. It reformed, reconfigured, and erased its past as if nothing had ever happened. Koushirou wept because he knew, he felt, the limitations of humans. He knew of the thin flesh and brittle bones, of emotions that were all at once the greatest strength and the most debilitating weakness. Digimon were resilient. They fought and died only to be reborn once more, but humans only had one life to live, only one chance to say, do, make, and destroy everything that needed it. No amount of wishing, no matter how hard Koushirou tried, would bring Taichi back to life.
The Chosen Child of Knowledge leaned back and rested his weight on his heels to look absently at the sky. He wondered with tired, reddened eyes what he should do now.
And, as if that was a signal, Koushirou heard footsteps approach behind him,
With some surprise Koushirou turned his black eyes upon Hikari and then focused on the rest of the Digidestined some ways behind her at the edge of the field. Hikari's few days of mourning had obviously taken its toll on her body. Pale skin, shadowed eyes and a pinched expression for the world to see was nothing like the general visage of Taichi's normally cheerful younger sister.
"Yes?" Koushirou's voice was rough, scratchy from his screaming the past few days. He watched as Hikari's shoulders pulled tight in discomfort, a mannerism Koushirou absentmindedly noted that Taichi shared before his death. But unlike Taichi, Hikari's tense shoulder were soothed when Takeru stepped up behind her with a light touch. The comfort was received unconsciously and a sharp piercing form of jealously went through Koushirou's body. What he would not do for long tan arms and a solid chest that belonged to Taichi to give him comfort, to erase his hurt right now.
"We've received a message from Genai." Hikari's voice strained and Koushirou heard the pain within it. She pulled her digi-terminal out for him to see and placed it in his hand. "We thought you might be able to make some sense of it."
Koushirou frowned. At least for now hadn't they done enough? Hadn't Taichi's death been enough? "What does he want now?" His fingers clutched the device incredulously.
"He wants us to go to Primary Village. He says it's urgent. He sent us this data file, but it's just a riddle." Takeru explained as Koushirou stood and look down at the message. On the screen there were only two sentences, but those sentences could have meant a variety of things.
"The sun is reborn in the darkest hour of night. Come, have the courage to sow a seed in the place that things originate."
The red headed digidestined sighed in frustration and then looked to his friends. None of them looked happy, but they all had determination. He couldn't ignore this one. He couldn't. That wasn't Taichi's way, after all.
But above all, even now, Koushirou would not allow himself to hope.
AAAANNNDD There we go. I know, I know. It's been a while, but trust me when I say there are reasons. You know, I've had this written for months now, but every time, EVERY TIME I tried to type it something would go wrong and I would lost it all, finally gain the will to type it again just to lose it AGAIN! As it is, I've spent a long time revamping it today and typing it up for your viewing pleasure, so I do hope you enjoy it. This is NOT the last chapter. Stay tuned for a few more chapters of epic conclusion, but I can't promise those will be soon.
Anyway, read, review, have a cookie.
More soon and lots of love!