Author's Notes

Sorry this chapter's so short. It was necessary because the new chapter occurs on a new day.

Enjoy, and tell me what you think.

Grey Mist

When truth and lies are clouded beyond distinction, one finds the border between what is acceptable and not blurred beyond comprehension. A new stepfather seemed to be having that effect.

Kouichi K& Tomoko K

Chapter 4


Kouichi, who had been heading straight home that day as he always did when it was Kouji's turn to ring, stopped in his tracks and half turned as a classmate ran up to him with a soccer ball tucked under one arm.

'Want to play soccer with us?'

The elder twin smiled politely, and a tad wistfully. It was nice weather; he could have hung out a little, played soccer with them, just sat at the park and enjoyed the sunshine…but he had pretty much agreed to Kouji's phone call and the other had a habit of being rather prompt. Well, he hadn't exactly agreed, but the point was he hadn't disagreed and thus the confirmation was taken by means of agreement.

'I can't,' he replied. 'I need to go home.'

'It'll only be half an hour or so,' another commented, a small frown of disapproval playing on his lips.

'I'm expecting a phone-call,' Kouichi explained.

The pair looked at each other, and then the ball passed hands as the second speaker shrugged. 'See you around then.'

Kouichi waved his goodbye before continuing on home. At the intersection he turned back to the yard; two mock-teams had begun their scrimmage match. Already he could see several white shirts spotted in mud.

Then the light turned green and he continued his way home…and Kouji's phone call which still somehow managed to beat him.

'I've got it,' he said to the empty house, snatching up the receiver. 'Moshi moshi,' he panted. 'Kimura residence.'

'Hey.' Yep, it was Kouji. 'Did you just get home?'

'Ah…yeah.' He looked at the clock whose hands shone as if berating him. 'I guess there was a little extra traffic today.' He couldn't think of any other reason why it took an additional ten minutes to walk the distance; the conversation hadn't even taken "one". And he had gotten stuck on a few red lights.

'Yeah, okay.' For some reason, Kouji's tone sounded doubtful. The effect was heightened when the silence stretched between them. 'So…'

'Umm…' Scrambling for a conversation, Kouichi burst out: 'We got a new student today.'

'What?' Kouji sounded a little bewildered before the statement struck. 'Oh, a new student.' Another pause, and then: 'So after an entire year and a month, the desk besides yours finally gets an occupant.'

'Pretty much, but…' The elder twin's voice trailed off. The new student unnerved him for some reason. He flat out refused to be shown around, vanished for lunch and then vanished again after school. And he barely strung words together when addressed. He also seemed a little overly worried about getting caught talking during class, but he supposed any new student off-footed by entering a new school after the scholastic year had already started would feel that way. 'He doesn't talk much.'

'Neither do you,' the younger twin responded. 'That'll make an interesting pair. He might have done better beside Takuya.'

'Takuya doesn't go to my school.'

A sigh. 'I didn't mean it literally Kouichi.'

A pause punctured the statement. 'Right,' Kouichi responded after a while as the door opened. 'Oh, 'kaa-san's home.'

Then he blinked at the questions he received, falling over one another.

'I'll give the phone to her,' he decided finally, failing to decipher any of it. He handed it to her after receiving a quick kiss on his cheek and headed off to finish his "breakfast" when Tomoko hailed him, right ear listening attentively. Without a word, she waved at him to return.

Understandably too, as that way she wouldn't have to repeat everything twice.

'So, your mother's getting remarried?' Takuya asked, sitting up from his position on the grass. 'That's so cool.'

Izumi on the other hand looked a little more sympathetic. 'What do you think about it?'

Kouji shrugged. ''tou-san's been married to Satomi for years now, so 'kaa-san remarrying isn't that big of a deal. I won't see them that often anyway.' It was hard for his four friends to discern his underlining tone. But his words spoke the truth; Kousei and Satomi's marriage had been the major marriage. Tomoko remarrying wouldn't affect him nearly as much as it would his brother. Not only would he not be living with the new man, but he'd already gone through the process once. Everything was easier a second time after all.

'I wonder how Kouichi's going to cope,' the blonde murmured, shifting on the grass slightly as she gazed up into the branches of the Sakura tree with its thin veil of leaves. It was late summer after all; the Sakura species blossomed to its fuel might in Autumn. 'It's going to be awkward for him at the very least; he and your father don't get along still, do they?' Like the other, the question was aimed at the younger twin, even if it was spoken to the air in general, gently caressing her face.

Kouji, who was leaning against the trunk of the said tree, shook his head. The long black strands, somewhat loosened by the usually tight ponytail, whipped at his face in a gentle manner as he closed his eyes. 'Not particularly I guess,' he muttered. 'But then again, whenever Kouichi comes over, he's with me. It's not like they're ever in the same room together.'

'That's true,' the pseudo-Italian realised, before giving up the topic. 'Maybe we're making mountains out of molehills here.'

'You mean you are,' Junpei corrected. 'Anyway, when's the wedding? Summer break?'

'Before that,' the younger twin replied, and if Takuya had been standing up, he would have fallen. His face spoke volumes on that notion.

'What?' he exclaimed. 'But-in the middle of the term?' Then he whistled. 'Geeze, they must really not want to wait.'

'It's something to do with the lease for the apartment,' Kouji explained, giving the brunette a look anyone else could easily interpret as being sour. 'They'd have to pay for six months when they'd only stay there for one, tops.'

'Hold on,' Tomoki piped up for the first time, rolling over so his head was on his elbows and his stomach was comfortably squished against the grazed surface. 'Does that mean Kouichi's moving?'

Kouji blinked at the question, then nodded while giving himself a mental whack. How hadn't he thought of that? 'I guess he is,' he replied. 'Kuso. I should have asked where.' Then he really did hit himself. 'I'll just ask him tomorrow.'

They all laughed at that. Sometimes it seemed like that, no matter the fact that the twins talked to each other at least once a day, there was always the necessity for more talk. On their end anyway; none of them could really speak for Kouichi.

His father was home by the time he got home from the little get-together with his friends, which was somewhat unusual but becoming more common as of late.

'How was your day?' Kousei asked, sipping-

'That's not coffee, is it?' Kouji returned, staring suspiciously at the cup.

'Tea,' the other validated, before giving him a reprimanded stare.

'Day was fine.'

The older man raised an eyebrow over his cup. 'Are you sure? I heard you on the phone with your brother this morning.'

He would have, having to get up early for work after all.

'Ahh…' Despite what he'd told his friends, the new marriage was going to invite some changes, and some accompanying situations bordering on awkwardness. 'Ni-san called me.'

Kousei waited expectantly, lips lightly kissing the rim of his mug.

''kaa-san's getting remarried,' Kouji admitted eventually.

'Mmm-hmm,' the other acknowledged, taking another sip. The younger twin waited for the other shoe to drop – perhaps for the tea to go spraying – but it never did. 'To who?'

'An architect.' That hurdle out of the way, the ex-warrior of light threw himself onto an empty chair.

'Oh?' The other eyebrow went up, and then a half grin. 'I hope you reacted better than when I said the same thing.'

Not many things made Minamoto Kouji blush, but his father's words accomplished that effect.

'Of course I did.' Kouji's words at least were steady.

'You asked a million questions?' Now, the father's time sounded rather amused. 'Really, when Satomi and I were marrying, you spend most of your time being angry at me or asking a whole bunch of questions.'

'Yeah…I guess I did.' He scratched his head.


'Well what?' Then Kouji blinked. 'Why are you..?'

Kousei shrugged, something hidden in his eyes. 'I can hardly begrudge Tomoko for…remarrying when I've done the same.' The hesitation spoke more volumes than his words; it was obvious he had been about to say something different, but reconsidered. 'So…when's the wedding?'

'In a few weeks,' Kouji answered automatically. He wasn't sure what reaction he had been expecting from his father, but that wasn't it. Still, he had to tell his father at some point after all…particularly the arrangements. 'Something to do with the apartment lease, so they don't want to wait till the Summer break.'

Kousei nodded in a gesture to continue.

''kaa-san said they haven't planned much at this stage, but she doesn't like leaving engagements hanging.'

'She did the same thing with me.' The brown eyes turned somewhat nostalgic. 'If you're engaged and people know about it, you might as well be married.'

'But…you can break off an engagement…'

Kousei's eyes settled to the top of his son's bandana. 'Sometimes,' he explained softly. 'Breaking off an engagement is worse than a divorce, even in societies like this were divorces are somewhat considered a taboo.'

'But…' That made little sense to many of the current generation. After all, societal holds were beginning to loosen.

Now, Kousei's voice sounded somewhat amused. 'Have you being paying attention to history?'

'Yeah,' Kouji responded automatically, before it clicked. 'But…'

A chuckle escaped. 'I haven't heard you say so many "buts" since you were four,' he commented. 'But as much as history likes to be fabricated, there are grains of fact engraved.' He took a breath. 'Now…anything else I need to know right now?'

Kouji began to shake his head before he remembered, letting it sink onto the tabletop instead. 'Ni-san's staying with us this weekend.'

'Ah…this is short notice.' Somehow, the words had caught him off guard, particularly since he hadn't been asked whether it was possible. Which it was, and Kouji had probably known that. But at times like that it appeared he gave his son a little too much leeway.

'Well…' Kouji shrugged. 'Kouichi didn't mention it, so it must have been.'

He didn't seem particularly bothered.

'No major assignments?'

A shake of the head.

'You're not hiding something?'

Another shake of head. 'Teachers are disorganised. They gave everything last week.'

Kousei chuckled at that, draining his cup.