Author's Notes

This was inspired partly by Stingrae's Don't Let me Fall and the ensuring conversation and partly by my collection of drabbles in Grandma's Book of Fairytales. The latter just refers to the past relationship between Kouichi and Tomoko that doesn't make it sound like he's got a bit of an Oedipus complex, because you notice he never blames his mother while being Duskmon, or after. Or even on the moon…

You know, for a spur on the moment idea, it sure took an age to write up. So long in fact that I've forgotten why I named it "Self-Propagating Waves" to begin with. I think we were studying some sort of waves in physics. I remember the graph had sinusoidal waves 90 degrees to each other going off to infinity...oh, I rememeber. The electric field and the magnetic field. Perpendicular to each other, and this particular universal one self-propogated off to eternity. I think it was in air or empty space or something like that. This was some time last year; I'm not taking physics anymore.

Remember the context when you're reading this. I feel it was the episode "Ice Ice Baby" where Kouichi finally puts his guilt and doubts aside and adapts into the team...so to speak. Tomoki even comments on it.

Enjoy, and tell me what you think. And while you're at it, a question that may seem odd, but anyone know why I seem to get less reviews for chapters of multichaptered fics (that's proper fics, not drabbles) than oneshots when it comes to my Digimon fics particularly? It's very mind-boggling, and later it's been plain bugging me.


Self-Propagating Waves

For a moment, it seemed he would really fall into those mirror fragments, reflecting endless tunnels with no light…

Kouichi K


Watching one of the biggest battles he would ever be faced while being unable to do anything except keep faith wasn't an experience he particularly wished to repeat, but it was certainly better than fighting on the wrong side. As it was though, he almost wished he was, in the sense where he would be doing something, actually accomplishing something…rather than just standing by as a helpless observer.

Flash upon flash lit up the sky as darkness clashed with fire and light. It was a balance slowly shifting, slowly adjusting, and standing at the very peak of Cherubimon's castle under the Venus Rose, all they could do was watch the battle unfold and hold onto faith.

It was alright for the others. They hadn't spent so long on the wrong side and so little on the right. They hadn't spent so much time and resource pillaging the very world the very world they were striving now to protect. They weren't the ones who couldn't even begin to start making up for the evil they had caused before the end began playing out in front of them. He didn't think he had even come to terms with the entire situation; the death of his grandmother, the woman who had practically raised him as his own mother had been struggling, in his critical years, between meeting ends with her meagre income and her own sickness…and yet it was his grandmother who had succumbed first, all to make sure her daughter and grandson could stand on their own two feet.

Out of the corner of his eyes, lights still flashed as those responsible clashed in the black sky. A particularly fierce one pushed his brother back, and suddenly a cry was upon his lips before he could swallow it. Another blow pushed him further back, and for a moment, the large menacing head burst out of the darkness and flame, rearing towards its prey, jaws spreading as though to swallow them whole…

Jaws that looked more suited for him than any other.

The cry was already past his lips before he bit them back. Screaming out, however much he wanted to, seemed rather useless. At the worst, it would serve as a distraction to Cherubimon's advantage, and the corrupted angel seemed at the very moment that thought crossed his mind to turn his head towards the four humans standing on the platform, almost as if he had heard the thought and was taunting it,

He winced slightly and looked down, and the image was broken. The fighting continued; the flashes of light came into his vision even as the wall in front stood as a barrier, just high enough to stop them being a physical part of the fight without being high enough to prevent them seeing the dangerous dance and letting their mind mesh upon a more spiritual level.

It was hard to see or think about anything save them clashing as they were. But he could still think of how it felt to be on the sidelines. How he should be doing something to help…after all the trouble he had caused, playing right into Cherubimon's hands time and time again. How he had taken the warped spirits of darkness and the words of dripping honey, letting them block his ears and his heart. How he had fought against the person he had tried so hard to reach while being simultaneously too afraid to get too close. How he'd almost killed him not once but four times, the first being entirely accidental. How he'd accepted the beast spirit and its simplistic hunger only so he would no longer have to listen to his screaming heart and all the complexities it brought about. How he'd stared a brave and innocent digimon in the eye, about to splatter it's digicode upon the barren wasteland before simply flicking it out of the air like an imprudent child.

…well, that should count in his favour…if you ignore whose fault it was Patamon took on a bird at least fifty times his own size. But there was just something about that digimon…when one wasn't falling over all the risks the little guy took. You couldn't help but warm up to him, believe him…

He wasn't sure if Patamon had realised it, but his words were a double-edged sword.

'Darkness isn't a bad thing unless you choose to make it that way.'

Well, that was the point of the matter then. He had chosen to make it that way. The other point was only of his grandmother's favourite clichés: "there was no use crying over spilt milk". That, and the fact they still had to defeat Cherubimon, meant he didn't have any time or cause blaming himself for everything and drying out in a corner.

…except when he was standing as he was, watching his brother and the boy who (and he'd never even thanked him for it) had played almost as large a role saving him from…well, himself.

Beside him, the others were cheering, yelling their support, even while they could do nothing else (though he had felt eyes on him at some point). But they were doing that. He got the feeling that even he raised his voice to yell alongside them, his would be drowned out by the others. But even his parted lips wouldn't, or perhaps couldn't, let such sounds escape. It was like even they knew-

The ground shook suddenly, and the cheers stopped into startled surprise. Everybody scrambled for footing as the wall suddenly fell away, throwing them all straight into danger as Takuya, KaiserGreymon, suddenly appeared before them.

'Come on,' he said, holding out his large gauntleted arms.

The digimon quickly obeyed, scrambling onto a piece of armour they could securely grasp as Izumi helped Tomoki up before climbing on herself.

Kouichi watched them. So did Junpei, before he turned around as more of the ground fractured. In the distance they could hear an ear-splitting crack and the whooshing that told them a significant piece of the castle had broken off.

'Come on,' he said.

'You first,' the other said immediately, without hesitation.

The warrior of thunder however did hesitate, before giving a look that told him he'd better follow before doing as requested. Having lodged both legs and a hand securely, he proffered the other to the boy remaining.

Kouichi took a single step before the ground fell out from beneath him.

For a moment he was stepping in midair, and then he was lurching downwards…leaving what felt like every vital organ up in the sky with the others. Both arms reached out, and he could swear he saw several reaching for him as well, Junpei's being both the fastest and the nearest (seeing as he had already extended the appendage)…but there was absolutely no hope for them reaching and clasping.

Gravity was pulling him down, along with something else…and they were winning.

Below him, he could hear mirrors shattering, breaking, wailing…no, they weren't mirrors, he realised, suddenly going cold. Not normal mirrors anyway. They were the wraiths, the poor Digimon Cherubimon had experimented with and utterly broke using the spirits of darkness. His spirits.

And they could sense that, that he carried the spirits at the very least. Perhaps that was all they now had the capability of sensing. Suddenly finding himself looking down, he could swear the black tendrils that had lurked behind the glass were rising up at him, now free from their prison, and he couldn't help but wonder if there had been some sense of mercy buried beneath the imprisonment. Perhaps some part of Cherubimon, the part Ofanimon had been calling to, the part that had been so angry at him when he had turned…the part, he suddenly realised, he was sympathetic too…

Somewhere in the distance, Cherubimon screamed in pain as he collided, and the castle croaked further. More glass shattered, and the tendrils of darkness were rising up, ever so nearer, calling to his spirit, hating and loving it because that was all it could do.

If he wasn't so terrified, he'd probably start crying. His heart went out to those poor Digimon. It really did. Whatever had led them there, it couldn't possibly be enough to warrant the price they had paid. And of course he would be sympathetic to that…and that sympathy was mirroring back to him. Apparently even the wraiths realised the similarity…and the difference.

Bodiless voices continued screaming and crying at him. They were all falling, with the mirrors that had been both their saviour and their jail. For a moment it seemed like he was going to fall with them. It seemed he would really fall into those mirror fragments, reflecting endless tunnels with no light. There was no ground beneath his feet. The stretching hands were gone, the last shouts of their owners fading into a different sort of cry…

They were crying. Not screaming. Not right then. The black tendrils were still reaching for him. One was starting to snake up his leg, but his arms were still reaching for the little sparkle of light he could still make out. Now the tiny bit of pressure on his ankle was pushing him up instead of down. But that defied the laws of gravity…

Of course, he was still falling anyway. He'd probably register that fact at any second, but for the moment it felt like time had come to a complete stop. The bodiless voices, the victims of his accursed spirit, now set free from the influence that had plagued it…they both hated and loved that spirit, as they both hated and loved him for being the one to purify and wield its power when it had broken them all. Perhaps some part of them were glad though, glad that their numbers would not grow. Glad that they were now free…and complete, because he could feel his spirit, the spirit of darkness, calling to him, channelling him, calling them…and they were answering, vanishing, becoming one.

He could have walked on the wind. Or fallen into the deep abyss.

Suddenly he was dangling in silent midair. MagnaGarurumon still had a tight grip around his wrist, his other snaked around to clutch the platform so he didn't pitch them both into a drop that could cost them their lives. Kouji's eyes, his entire face was covered with the mask that was a part of his armour, but he could hear the slight grunt as he pulled him out of the hole and into his arms.

Apparently, he was carrying quite a bit. But maybe he had dropped a load when he had picked up another one. He didn't have to be afraid of falling; somehow or other, those arms would reach out and connect. Not because they owed him-they owed him nothing-or because he happened to be the wielder of a legendary spirit or Kouji's twin, but because they truly wanted to. Their reasons for reaching out had nothing to do with their past. How could it, for in that pivotal second all of them had reacted on instinct. He had reached out for them, because he needed someone to pull him out of the hole he was falling into, and they had all arisen to the occasion. They weren't holding his past on him. He was.

And even as they flew away from the Venus Rose (or went flying away, whichever you preferred), he realised that they all were doing something. Being a part of something. And whether he liked it or not, or even realised it or accepted it, he was a part of that something too.

Now he just had to prove that to himself. And tell that other part of him.

As his grandmother used to say, no use crying over spilt milk. He wished though she had told him how hard it was to follow that advice.

'Oh no, we're gonna crash!'

…and how hard it was to avoid spilling it too.