Title: Drowning Lessons
Universe: Digimon Frontier
Rating: M 16+ (depression, swearing, homophobic assholes, demon children, schizophrenia, etc)
Word Count: 3302
Summary: "Takuya?" called his mother, walking to the centre of the room. Suddenly the boy in question burst forth from his closet, standing in a "tada!" sort of pose. Set as if they were mid-teens, post Digi-world.
Disclaimer: If Digimon were mine, I would have already funded research into the possibility of there actually being a Digital World. As such, I do not own Digimon nor any of the characters therein.
Honestly, this felt like such a cliché as I was writing it that I considered simply not posting it ever.
And yet, here it is.
More depressing than a NaruSasu after the Sasu portion just left to go hang with Orochimaru.
Takuya fidgeted slightly, staring out the window with glazed eyes.
His brother had probably been trying to get his attention for five minutes now, but he was off with the fairies, so to speak.
"Takuya, would you listen to your brother please?" his mother berated from the front passenger's seat.
He blinked and turned to look at her, stunned.
Her eyes crinkled at the edges; she was worried. He turned to his brother and smiled and asked what he'd missed.
He'd been doing that a lot lately; staring out windows, falling into trances, not to mention that he'd suddenly become the best older brother on the planet. He never bickered with Shinya anymore, even when the younger boy was spoiling for a fight.
She looked at her husband and noticed that he shared her expression; he must have been watching his son through the rear-view mirror.
They both knew that Takuya never got this distracted before a soccer game; he was always focused or getting in his "zone" long before they got into the car, but not today. Or on Wednesday, his last match. Or even the one before that.
What had happened to him on that train ride?
Takuya himself, of course, was not oblivious to his family's worry over his mental state. He knew that he had to pull himself together before his parents sent him to a psychiatrist or something.
They'd probably diagnose him twenty different conditions, none of which he had.
He found himself gripping the phone in his pocket. That phone was sure causing him lots of trouble these days.
He'd been caught on the phone to Kōji while they were wondering if they'd ever return to the Digital World, and he'd had to make up some sort of novel he was writing.
Which his mother wanted to see.
Which he couldn't show her because the entire trilogy, entitled "How to Beat Three Evil Digi-Groups in Just Under a Year", was stuffed soundly inside his brain case.
Then there was the time that he'd invited Tomoki and Junpei over to play video games, of course, using his trusty phone gone Digivice gone phone again.
Tommy, of course, got along well with Shinya and they teamed up against the older boys multiple times. Junpei and Takuya seemed like they'd known each other forever, but to his parents it was as if they'd appeared from nowhere. They were mostly concerned with where he'd picked up these friends from. When had he managed to meet a seventeen-year-old and a twelve-year-old who went to different schools, weren't related to each other and shared next to nothing in common with him?
And how had they become such fast friends?
His mother had asked about the train again.
He'd told her the same story.
"It's like I told you before mum; I forgot to get Shinya a present so I went to get one that I'd seen in a store in Shibuya real quick. I caught the wrong train on the way back and was halfway to Sendai before I knew what was going on," he told her as he shrugged and then grinned.
He'd only been gone half an hour, but something drastic had happened to him in that time.
Had he seen someone murdered? Had someone tried to hurt him? Had someone managed to hurt him?
He knew exactly what his mother was thinking most of the time, and tried to head her off before she could ask questions by either starting on a different topic or talking to Shinya instead.
It only made her worry more.
"Pass the freaking ball, Taku!" yelled one of his teammates, Kaori, who was running ahead of him.
He kicked the ball at him as hard and straight as he could manage and was rewarded for his efforts when his friend shot it straight past the goalie.
"Yes!" he yelled, high-fiving the boy who'd scored the goal, laughing as they missed each other's hands.
The half-time buzzer sounded soon afterwards and they headed for the bench.
"You're doing brilliantly today, boys!" their coach beamed at them, handing all of them their water bottles, "We're leading two nil, but a lot can change in the second half, so be on your guard."
'Be on your guard, huh?' Takuya wondered as he stared off at the field, eyes glazing over again.
"Taku, if you don't wake up soon I'm going to pour apple juice on your head," stated Kaori as he walked over next to him and slung an arm over his shoulder.
Takuya eyed the other boy's bottle warily, "You're supposed to drink water during games, not condensed sugar."
"I run fine on apple juice just like I do on water; no biggie," was the casual reply before he proceeded to skull half the bottle.
"Besides," he continued after he'd finished, "what does it matter if our star player is constantly spacing out on us?"
"On the field I don-"
"On the field you don't, yeah, but every other time we meet up as a team you're so far away you may as well be on the moon."
'Moons,' he thought absently, looking at the single, lonely one his current sky possessed.
Kaori ploughed on, looking concerned now, "Is anything happening at home? You know that Coach would give you some time off if there's some personal stuff going on that-"
"Everything's fine, Kaori, I'm just a little loopy lately is all. I think I'm becoming an insomniac."
Kaori just stared at him dully, "Well if you can't sleep you shouldn't play either.
"No biggie, just don't push yourself, okay?"
They won that match three-one, by the way.
On the other side of the district, Kōji and Kōichi were fiercely battling it out, pausing often to glare and growl at each other before continuing on the attack.
"You will fall!"
"I WILL NOT!"
Kōji delivered one final kick and Kōichi's character fell to the ground, KO'd.
Kōichi sat back on the couch and mumbled something about cheat codes and Kōji laughed before heading for the staircase.
"I'm going to the bathroom, help yourself to the kitchen," he said, taking the stairs two at a time.
Kōichi decided that he was ravenous and walked into the kitchen with the intent of finding something unhealthy and full of preservatives.
He grabbed a large pack of chips and returned to the living room to devour them, but was cut off when he heard the jingle of keys from the front door.
He panicked – "They're not supposed to be home yet!" – shutting off the console and hurriedly packing it away before turning and heading for the stairs, his prized chips in hand.
"Oh, hello Kōji," he heard.
He was too late, he'd been spotted, he- ... She thought he was Kōji?
He turned around and smiled sheepishly at Kōji's- well, his as well, step-mother.
She smiled back brightly before turning to the kitchen with her groceries in hand. She looked back quickly, however, when she noticed his short hair.
"You cut your hair! But I so loved it the other way," she said, coming forward to touch it.
Kōichi was well aware that Kōji was on good terms with this woman now, but he couldn't help but flinch when she reached towards him.
She pulled back her hand, looking disappointed, and sighed.
Then they heard a flush from upstairs, and the woman before him brightened instantly.
"Oh, you have a friend over?"
Kōichi nodded emphatically.
"Well then you should probably-" she cut off with a gasp and Kōichi flinched and turned to look.
His twin was standing at the top of the stair case with his mouth open and an absolutely horrified look on his face.
Kōchi could almost tell by his brother's twitching cheek that he was fighting the urge to giggle hysterically, as he sometimes did when he was stressed.
And then their father marched through the door.
'Oh, give me a break,' Kōichi though exasperatedly as the man walked in and took in the situation before him.
He then promptly called a family meeting in the dining room.
"Twins? But how could you not- ... and their mother is still alive?"
"Yes. I'm sorry for not telling you-"
She waved her hand at him and turned to Kōji.
"Is that why you could never accept me; because you knew your mother was alive and you didn't want a replacement?" she asked.
Kōji winced, "No, I was just being stubborn. I didn't know either of them existed until a little while ago..."
His step-mother turned to look disapprovingly at his father and he winced again; all bets were off on the survival of this marriage.
"Um..." his parents turned to look at him and he bit his lip, staring at his shoes.
Kōichi placed a comforting hand on his shoulder and smiled at him, and he looked back up at the people in front of him.
"Kōichi... well, I wasn't going to have you meet him today... Um... But I was going to tell you... something."
"What is it, son?"
"You know you can tell us anything," said his step-mother, reaching across the table to hold his hands inside of her own.
Oh god, he hoped that she wouldn't let go when he told them.
Takuya awoke the morning after his latest sporting victory to some sort of annoying buzzing sound on his bedside table.
He bashed his alarm clock repeatedly before realising that it was coming from his phone.
He reached over and grabbed it, disregarding the thought of just hanging up and turning off his phone.
The buzzing had been the ringtone that Junpei had set on all of the Chosen Children's phones for each other, and was incredibly annoying first thing in the morning.
"Party time, all of my people,
Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh-"
"Hello?" he asked, putting his free arm over his eyes.
"Itoldthem!" came the obviously excited blabber from the other end.
"I told them!" the voice repeated. Takuya blinked and looked at the screen on his phone, registered that it was Kōji, and put the phone back to his ear again.
"You told who what now?"
"I told my parents. That I'm gay. They didn't kick me out!"
Takuya sat up at this announcement and grinned, "That's excellent! That you told them, though not kicking you out is awesome too. When?"
"Last night. It was kind of a double whammy, though, since they walked in while Kōichi was still over. Mum nearly died."
Takuya laughed; he'd hate to have been Kōji's dad last night; "But everything's okay; no major drama?"
"Everything is perfect, and they want to meet you! ... Have you told yours yet?"
Takuya rubbed some of the sleep out of his eyes and glanced over at his cupboard, thinking over the routine he had planned, "Not yet, but I was planning on doing it today."
"Are you still going to do that closet thing?"
""If something needs doing, do it with humour". My dad always says that."
"Mhmm, well, if you need a place to crash if they react badly, my couch is always free."
"Have I mentioned recently that your couch is possibly the most comfortable in the world?"
"Only every time you come over."
"Anyway, see you later Takuya. Mum's calling me for breakfast."
"Mine will be up soon too. See you."
He hung up and thought for a moment before calling back.
"I love you, just so you know."
He heard the smile in the other's voice as he replied. "Love you too."
"Do you think he wants to talk to us about what's been bothering him lately?" asked Takuya's mother as they stood outside his door.
He'd asked them to come up and had raced upstairs before they could follow. They had, eventually, and were now standing in front of his shut door, wondering what was behind it.
Her husband's reply to her question was to knock.
"Come in!" came the more muffled than usual reply. They raised their eyebrows at each other and opened the door.
The room was empty.
"Takuya?" called his mother, walking to the centre of the room.
Suddenly the boy in question burst forth from his closet, standing in a "tada!" sort of pose.
His mother, being having a degree in literature, squinted for a minute before realising what it meant. Her husband took a little longer.
"What on earth were you doing in the closet- ... oh..."
Takuya grinned at them sheepishly and searched their eyes for either acceptance or hostility; he'd plan his actions according to their reactions.
His mother was, once again, the first to do something.
She rushed forward and crushed him into an embrace; "Oh, Takuya, is this what's been bothering you all this time?"
Takuya nodded, thinking 'Half of it, anyway.'
"You were scared we wouldn't accept you? Don't worry darling, I still love you, no matter what!"
His father took a moment before saying anything; "... How long?"
"Um... I've been going out with my boyfriend for six months now..." he stated, still in his mother's arms. He'd given them the time that he and Kōji had agreed on; after all, next to no time had passed in the human world during their nearly year-long escapade in the Digital one.
"Have we met him?" asked his mother, holding him at arm's length by the shoulders now, "It it that Junpei boy? Or Kaori even?"
"NO! No, no, no, no, no!" he exclaimed waving his arms frantically, "You've met him, yes, but it's neither of them. You remember Kōji, the boy with the long hair?"
"The one who was trying to teach you guitar?" his father input quietly.
Takuya nodded quickly, "Yes, him."
His father sighed, "You should have told us when this began, Takuya," he said. The implied "so we could have stopped it" was not missed by either of his audience.
While his mother turned to berate his father, Takuya's face completely shut down. He could feel the part of him that was still somehow connected with Agnimon and Vritramon burning with rage and screaming his defiance at his father; how dare he say such a thing to him! Who was he, who couldn't dream of the things his son had seen, to judge him for who he was in love with?
He walked to his bedside table, grabbed his wallet, keys and phone and walked out his bedroom door past his bickering parents, face expressionless the whole time.
His mother turned to call him back, but he'd shut the door on his way through. He padded down the stairs, walking past his brother and patting him on the head.
"Tell mum and dad I'll probably be back tomorrow. Probably," he told him as he sat at the door to pull on his shoes.
His mother ran down the stairs at this point.
"Takuya, please! We-"
"Don't apologise for dad; he can do it himself if he means it," he said in a monotone, opening the front door and letting himself out.
He didn't even slam it as he left.
Instead, once he was safely down the street and nearly past the point where he could no longer hear his mother's calls, he pulled out his phone and dialled Kōji.
"Hey Kōji... mind if your parents meet me tonight?"
There was a pause on the other end. "... They took it badly, huh?"
"Dad did," he replied, trying not to sneer, "Obviously I'm not the perfect little soccer-playing high-flying girl-magnet playboy son he always wanted."
"Is that you or your spirits talking?"
Takuya took a moment to assess his feelings and how much he was being swayed by his internal fire.
"Mostly me," he replied after a good couple of minutes, now walking down one of the main streets in the area. "Vritramon wants me to turn around and rip his guts out; Agnimon wants us to talk it out like civilised beings. I'm content to hate him for a while before going back and choosing which one I'll do later."
Kōji chuckled at the slightly morbid view his boyfriend was taking on the situation, simply replying, "Well, I'll meet you at the intersection at the bottom of my hill."
"See you soon."
"... Is it okay to tell you I love you?"
Takuya laughed, breaking through his anger.
"Of course, because I love you too."
All the women in earshot smiled at him appreciatively, obviously misreading the situation.
He put his hand over the speaker and directed his attention to one group in particular who were all talking about him admiringly.
"I'm talking to me boyfriend," he told them with an absolutely downright evil smile on his face.
He walked away leaving them shocked and slightly terrified of the demon child who had just passed them.
He was introduced to Kōji's parents without much ceremony, and got along with them surprisingly well.
It seemed that his humour, while not the same as any of theirs, was still in the right vein so as to make them laugh, so he gelled well with the family.
He slept that night on their gigantic suede couch and pretended like his family was waiting at home for him with open arms and smiling, not bickering and crying like they probably would be.
Imagine his shock (and minor horror) when his mother arrived at the Minamoto's front door the next morning.
"Hello, I'm here to pick up Takuya?" he heard her from the front door. Kōji and his mother raised their eyebrows at him and his stunned face before he jumped up and made a beeline for one of the side windows.
Kōji grabbed his arm and pulled him back; "Your mum's fine, it's your dad who has the problem, remember?"
"I don't care, I don't want to see either of them right now," he hissed back as he heard Kōji's father and his mother approaching the room.
"Takuya, please. You'll have to go back at some point, so why not now? They're looking for you, aren't they?"
Takuya relaxed a little and sighed, standing by the window regardless; just in case.
Three people walked in the door; Kōji's dad and his own parents.
Both of them.
"And this is where I take my leave," he announced turning back around and unlocking the window before Kōji pulled him back.
"Don't make me call Junpei, Takuya; his family has a spare car and I won't hesitate to let him steal it to catch you."
Takuya didn't back down, however, "I could take all of you easy, what makes you think I'd be scared of a fucking zappy bug?"
"If you go out that window, I will not talk to you for a month. And I'll make sure none of the others do, either."
Takuya finally backed off; life without the society of his friends would be torturous in his current state of mind.
There was an awkward silence that lasted what seemed like forever before his father came forward and pulled him into a rough hug.
"I'm sorry, Takuya. Can you forgive me?" he said, pulling back a little ways.
"... How can I not?" he replied, smiling up at his father. He still looked pained, but at least he wasn't running anymore.
His father smiled and then turned to Kōji, who was now behind Takuya.
"Kōji, right?" he asked. Kōji nodded in response.
He stuck out his hand, "Hiroaki Kanbara, pleasure to meet you."
Kōji grinned and shook his hand firmly; "Nice to meet you too."
The implied "please don't kill me for turning your son gay" was noted by all present and Takuya even smiled at the sight.
Why would Junpei have to steal his parents car in order to drive it, you ask?
In Japan, the minimum age for driving a normal car is eighteen as opposed to getting a learner's/provisional license at, say, sixteen (I don't know what it's like wherever you live, but in Aus it L-plate, P-plate1, P-plate2).
Their entire system is different to ours, but I'm sure Jun could figure it out if he had to.