And that's it. I spent so much time on this that it feels rather sad. Except the rest of my WIPs are glaring at me. :)
AU. What if the twins' parents never divorced? What if being pushed together was the very rift that divided them? What if envy was spurned from societal influence-and the gate opened amidst?
Kouichi K & Kouji M
JP knocked on the door of the Minamoto's home on a Saturday afternoon after a half day's school. His bag was slung over one shoulder and the other was carrying a mince pie made by his mother (with his assistance of course). Koji, Tommy and Takuya were at the arcade – or detouring to the arcade would perhaps be a more accurate description. Zoe was beside him, carrying the dessert.
A brown haired woman opened the door.
'Are you friends of one of the boys?' she asked. Her voice was low and warm, the kind of motherly tone that came most often by those who had either a lot of children or none at all.
'Yes we are, ma'am,' Zoe said, stepping forward. 'We're here to visit Koichi though.'
The woman smiled and let them in. 'I'm sure Koichi is glad for that; books are no substitute for the real thing after all, and he has been wishing to go to the Gardens.'
She accepted the parcel Zoe offered, and JP trailed behind her as she headed for the kitchen and two more parcels that sat there.
'One would think they're having a birthday party.' The woman smiled fondly at the parcels. 'But you're all celebrating something far more important.'
'We're…not celebrating anything ma'am.' JP felt rather awkward in front of the woman; she gave off the air of knowledge and awareness.
'It's Satomi,' the brunette said. 'And nothing is the best thing to celebrate.'
The warriors of wind and thunder looked at each other, but Satomi was leaving again and they hastened to follow.
'You know where Koichi's room is,' she said. 'Go right ahead and knock.' She suddenly gave them both a stern look. 'No jumping out from behind the banister and surprising him.
'Yes ma'am,' the pair chorused before hurrying upstairs.
In the end, they made enough noise that Koichi would have had to be sleeping to miss them. As it was, he met them at the door, bandage finally off his head and proudly displaying stitches…except he'd crammed a head over them.
Zoe couldn't help but giggle at the hat. JP too was amused. 'You want to get in trouble on your first day at school.'
'Don't remind me,' Koichi groaned. 'It's only thanks to you I might avoid failing the semester.'
JP just shook his head. With the amount of effort he had to put into going over lessons with the other, he thought it would be more of a surprise if the elder Minamoto didn't wind up with As across the board. Even without receiving the information straight from the teachers he had been read enough to be able to grasp the new concepts with two explanations and a few worked out questions at the most. JP would consider himself most surprised if the other didn't wind up going to To-oh University at the end of senior high school.
And now there was little question about making it through junior.
'You know something,' JP remembered suddenly. 'Katsuharu was asking where you were'
'He was?' Koichi let go of the rim of his hat, which he had been fiddling with at the mention of school.
'Although he did ask whether you'd still hang upside down like a vampire or if your intestines would spew out.'
All three of them laughed at that, even if Zoe made a face at the mental image.
'Whatever brought the intestines into the topic?'
JP shrugged. 'No idea, and I don't really care either. Sho on the other hand seemed honestly curious as to whether or not you'd be back soon.'
'Not soon,' Zoe grinned. 'After all, the Gardens are waiting for us for today, and you too still need to teach me enough chess to beat Takuya.' Much to her chagrin, the brunet wasn't a bad chess player in the least. And it didn't help that she was a complete novice.
JP quickly launched into an explanation and Koichi let his mind wander off.
All of them had become closer; they hadn't talked much before the operation but they'd had a world of time afterwards, with him bedridden for what felt like an age. School had still pressed on, but he'd been granted leave and as long as he passed his exams he would join the following semester with all his regular classmates. To his surprise, JP hadn't been the only classmate to visit him, and to his greater surprise the ice that had split them all apart had somehow melted away. Because it wasn't Koichi and Koji's friends – although it was, in a sense, and there would be no avoiding that. But they had all been tied with the Digital World, and while he had tied himself as an outsider he had also done so as a part of a team. Takuya claimed you needed to use a microscope sometimes and ignore the seemingly bigger picture; they'd bumped into each other quite often after all, and in the end their paths had converged.
That was the important thing after all, because if he hadn't followed his path, Lucemon would have not lost his advantage. And if the others hadn't followed their own, they would not have been prepared for a Demon Lord's wrath, no matter how diluted.
But they'd followed those paths and came to the same end, and then done the same again with a different war. And Koichi knew it wasn't perfect; he knew the Digital World would not be perfect either. But it was alive. He was alive. And that was all that really mattered.
And they had had a months of time to make that come alive.
'So –' Koichi wrenched himself out of his thoughts – thankfully without a wince – at JP's change of topic. 'Should we take some of your pudding with us?'
'No way!' Zoe cried, before adding something in Italian.
JP looked confused, but Koichi grinned.
'Don't tell me you know what that means.'
'It means "that's for later",' the warrior of darkness responded.
'Sure does.' Zoe wagged a finger. 'So no touching now, capish?' Then she turned to Koichi. 'And that includes you; one of your ears must have been listening.'
'You guys are going to wear all that out before I'm back at school,' the elder twin noted.
JP shrugged. 'Think about how much less of a bother it'll be.'
Because laughing about it now was better, far better, then being thrown into a sea of drowning voices. Others could say what they wanted; it would matter less with his family and his friends around him.
Although he might have briefly reconsidered that when Koji, Takuya and Tommy give him a fright by popping out from behind the couch – after Satomi explicitly told them not to. But she was grinning as well, and Koichi's head was healing up quite nicely…
'What are you thinking about?' Tommy asked curiously.
'A lot of things,' Koichi said quietly. 'Like I was being silly when I didn't want to be close to anyone…' He drew his legs to his chest. 'And how everything feels…different now.'
'But that's good,' the warrior of ice pointed out. After all, they'd had the conversation before.
'It still takes getting used –' Koichi broke off and ducked under the pudding that came flying towards him. 'Good thing Koji's on cleaning detail.'
'Not fair,' the other grumbled. 'And what detail are you on?'
'Saving everything that's left and doing the dishes,' the elder twin innocently replied. It was after all the easier job, but they had drawn lots after the cat was out and Koji had unfortunately wound up with the short stick.
'By the way,' Tommy interrupted suddenly. 'Yutaka was asking if you had an answer for him.'
Koichi shook his head a little at that. 'Working on it.'
'I think that was the answer he was looking for.'
The rest looked blankly at them. Koichi just shrugged; he wasn't eager to share that quite yet.
'I can't believe it's been almost too months…' Zoe sighed.
'Believe it,' Koji said. 'We've got exams next week.'
They all groaned.
'At least you get extra time for your exams,' the younger twin pointed out to his elder sibling.
'That's no good if I don't know the answers though.'
'And what prey tell are you lacking in?'
'Great!' The twins jumped a little at JP's exclamation. 'I'm the best at physics.'
Koji gave the warrior of thunder a sidelong glance. 'I think Koichi was being sarcastic.'
'Was not,' the elder twin retorted. 'I really am stuck with the latest work.'
'Leave it to me.' JP patted his chest. 'I'll have it into your head in no time.'