Author's Notes

I'm not updating on Tuesday because I've got an exam on the Wednesday, or the following Tuesday for the same reason. In fact, chances are the only time I'm going to update next week is Sunday, thanks to my back-log (which has been almost completely depleted in the last few weeks). PMs and review replies will also be after exams (that's the fourteenth). The only other thing I might update is that competition for Harry Potter. If I get it done once exams drive me crazy. :)


Pollen Fields

He was in boiling hot water one moment and a field full of poppies the next, and his brother was inches away the whole time and he couldn't even reach out and touch him…

Kouji M & Kouichi K

Genre/s: Family/Humour

Rating: T

He was seeing red. Literally. And that aside, he was boiling. He could feel sweat clinging stubbornly to his skin, but it was far from relieving. His head still felt like it was stuck in a sauna, and the added weight was probably what was making it hang.

A groan bubbled past his lips as he tried to force his head up and failed miserably. Maybe his arms would be more useful, he thought to himself. Then perhaps he might be able to see…assuming he could pry his eyelids apart of course.

Only his arms felt like they were carrying ten kilo weights at the ends.

He groaned again, trying to let go, before his brain managed to register the fact that he wasn't actually holding anything. His palms felt sleek, probably from sweat again, but they weren't clutching anything save their own skin. Even if they had been, the natural lubricant would have properly insured its fall and possible damage.

A few minutes later, he registered the source of the heat, and amidst the sudden adrenaline surge that gave him the energy to try and scramble away from the burning under his feet, he wryly thought to himself how useful it would have been if the sweat had coated his feet instead of hands and forehead.

It took a few minutes of scrambling before he was hurtling forward, and then his eyes flew open of their own accord as his knees accompanied the soles of his feet in crying out in scalding pain.

Then he blinked, as through hazy vision and smoke and red colour, a hand was reaching down to him from a blood red slope.

He blinked again, and then once more, and slowly, the black came into better focus as the red faded. It looked somewhat like an old fashioned pot, the sort where people would cook meals for scores of people: ten, twenty, perhaps more with ease. He could see the handles held up by strong ropes…and no doubt the bottom was under hot coals or logs of fire. No wonder his feet were baking.

The hand stayed steady, gleaming white. Without thinking, he reached for it, only for his hand to burn as the other slipped slightly away…or perhaps he just hadn't reached far enough. He tried again, jumping towards the rope to freedom, and just managed to glimpse his brother's face, so much more gentle than his own, and the lips moving to wordlessly mouth something…before he was suddenly splashed with cold, and he was drowning in black again, his brother's presence in such a bizarre situation barely registering in his mind.

He was drowning. Worse than that, he was freezing. Everything around him was black, and cold. His mind was surprisingly blank; it was still trembling in some corner of his head from the sudden bucket of ice water that had fallen upon him…or that was what it felt like.

He wondered if he was still in the pot. That, typically, made him wonder what he had been doing in a pot to begin with. Had he somehow wondered into the world of Hansel and Gretel?

He rolled his eyes, accidently opening them…before he clamped them shut again as something slipped past his eyelids. Then he blinked as he realised it was only water, and took a breath of air as his lungs, apparently the only thing working properly, screamed at him in protest.

Then he coughed, spluttered, and somehow found himself treading water as his head broke through the surface he had failed to see, and he floundered like a half-drowned rat in someone's swimming pool.

He coughed again, trying to get the salty feeling and rawness out of his mouth. He hadn't even noticed the rawness till the first cough, but the tingling prompted repetition after repetition until he half-wondered, doggy-paddling with two legs and a hand as he used the other to try and choke the coughs down, if he wasn't going to bring his guts up as well as anything stuck in his throat.

They finally stopped after a few minutes, but it felt like an age. Unconsciously, he pulled his head up, enjoying the cool touch on his forehead...before shivering as his body re-registered the icy cold water he was treading in.

What the heck?

His teeth were chattering in seconds, and he struck out blindly for a few paces, before spotting a light and continuing on that way.

The water got warmer as he swam, so he figured he was either getting hypothermia or he was going in the right direction. The light never seemed to get any nearer though…

Until it was suddenly in his face. And he was blinking as his brother looked at him, expression caught somewhere between worry and relief as he reached for him.

Kouji almost snorted with laughter. Of course, no matter what whacko adventure he was on, his brother would be there sharing it with him.

He reached too, but just as their fingers would have met, the sea, and Kouichi, vanished.

He sneezed.

He was in a field full of poppies. Yellow poppies too, spitting their pollen into the air. And apparently he was allergic to that pollen.

Just brilliant.

He was somewhat stuffy again, but not particularly hot. It was a pleasant change from the boiling hot transiting to freezing cold…which his body apparently seemed to have forgotten with ease. He could have sworn his skin was rising with a multitude of goosebumps after that icy dip, but when he brought a finger to the dorsum of his other hand, he found the skin perfectly smooth, as if all impurities had been wiped away by a wash cloth.

This was just getting more and more confusing. Not to mention insane.

'This is some wacky dream,' he muttered to himself, taking a step forward, before sneezing again. 'Damn. Next second, these flowers are going to turn into carnivorous beasts, and a Kouichi-hallucination is going to show up again.'

Just as he spoke, the yellow sea shimmered, and then his brother was there, amongst the poppies.

'What did I say?' he muttered to himself, throwing his hands in the air. 'Well, at least I'm hallucinating about Ni-san and not some man-eating flower.'

'I'm not a hallucination,' Kouichi said, tone sounding somewhat amused. He took a few steps closer, and as he did, the yellow vanished. Instead, a more familiar colour took its place. A baby blue.

It clicked after a minute. He'd repainted his walls after the Digital World. It had seemed too depressing. It had been Tomoki who had suggested the colour but everyone had been quick to agree. So baby blue it had been.

'Aren't you hungry?' Kouichi asked, as the other collapsed on his spot.

The stomach rumbled on cue, along with a laugh.

He sneezed again, and made to blow his nose on his sleeve…and suddenly, there was something white in his face.

'Ack, what the heck?'

He swatted blindly, and there was a laugh.

'Looks like you're doing better,' Kouichi commented, removing the tissue he had been using and throwing it into the rubbish bin. 'Next time, can you tell someone you were feeling sick? Then maybe we could have avoided that entire scene?'

'Are you going to vanish again?' Kouji mumbled, rather disorientated. Now he was dreaming of being in the sky was he? Or his bedroom? With Kouichi leaning above him…

He tried to get up, but a firm hand pushed him back down.

'No,' his brother commanded. 'You're going to lie down and get some sleep, and this time hopefully without weird fever-induced dreams.'

'Huh?' It took him a moment to process that. 'So I'm awake now?'

His twin grinned, though worry was still evidently underneath. 'Of course,' he replied. 'I don't follow you around in your delusions, do I?'

'Actually, you do,' the younger muttered, closing his eyes again, before opening them. Kouichi hadn't moved, except to suppress an uncharacteristic snort of laughter.


'Seriously,' the other deadpanned. 'I was in a boiling pot, and then you dumped me into a sea with freezing cold water-'

'That must have been me changing the wash cloth,' Kouichi commented. 'Which reminds me.' He took the white cloth off the other's forehead and felt its dampness. 'It's okay. It'll last for a little longer.'

He gently replaced it on his brother's forehead.

'Oh,' Kouji sighed. Suddenly, he felt rather tired. 'That's what it was. And then I was just thinking how you'd always be with me, no matter what crazy adventure I'm on, and I'm in a poppy field sneezing like crazy-'

Kouichi cracked up at that. 'That explains it,' he chortled, before trying to sit on the giggles. 'I thought for a moment I had caught your cold.'

'So it's all your fault,' the ex-warrior of life decided, feeling himself start to drift off again. He decided at that point that he really hated being sick.

'You were the one thinking about-' He cut himself off when he realised his ill younger twin had drifted off again, before smiling and fixing the covers.

He left the soup by the bedside table as he closed the door behind him with a soft click. No doubt Kouji would be hungry the next time he woke up.