Riding Shotgun

He was so glad he'd managed to draw the straw for the front seat. Sitting beside a dad he was just starting to get to re-know was several levels of awkward, but it was better than being in the backseat with Koji and Takuya…

Kouichi K &Kousei M

Genre/s: Family/Friendship

Rating: T

'He's my father.'

'So what? He's Kouichi's father too. And that's why it makes more sense if I sit in the front seat.'

'No way.'


All three preteens jumped at the shout, although Kouichi hadn't been a part of the previous argument that had resulted in Minamoto Kousei stepping in before things go out of hand. Although his face was more annoyed than mad as he turned towards his younger son and his best friend. 'You two keep that up and you're both walking.'

They stopped, not because it would be a far distance to trod on foot, but because they were envisioning the awkward situation that was bound to result from Kouichi and Kousei being together alone for the first time in eight years.

'Okay.' Kousei sighed heavily, before pulling out three strips of paper from his pocket. He hadn't actually expected the argument; it had been years since Kouji lapsed back into such "childish" behaviour, so it was partially wistful thinking that kept him from carrying the three strips around. That, and the fact that the twins had always argued as little children and the "fair draw" had been the only thing that could placate them. Not even Tomoko taking shotgun would keep them calm, because they'd want "dibs" (as they called it) on her lap. 'Fair draw time.'

Funnily enough, it was only Takuya who didn't initially wear a blank expression, but they all caught on soon enough.

A quick game of Janken solved who was to go first and Kouji drew a blank. Takuya followed, also drawing a blank. Kouichi managed to stifle his giggle as the pair stared at each other, before taking the last strip and being hit with a wave of nervousness as he draw the one with the star.

'Well, Kouichi gets the front seat.'

Funnily enough, all three of them felt like groaning. Personally, Kouichi had been rooting for Takuya to draw the marked straw…not that he would ever admit that to his brother. That would have left the twins at the back merrily talking, and he doubted it would have bothered the brunette to twist around and join in on the conversation. It definitely would have bothered Kouji…and him, well…

'All right everyone. Get in or we're going to be late.'

Ten minutes into the ride, Kouichi was so glad he'd managed to draw the straw for the front seat. Sitting beside a dad he was just starting to get to re-know was several levels of awkward, but it was better than being in the backseat with Koji and Takuya who were now bickering about something or other (he'd lost the conversation early on). Seriously, hadn't they stopped the habit back in the Digital World?

Kousei gave his elder son a side-long glance as they stopped at a red light. 'What do you think?' he asked conversationally. 'You want to let these two walk?'

If he hadn't been buckled in, the ex-warrior of darkness would have jumped out of his seat at the unexpected question. 'Uhh…' he managed before words failed him. He swallowed, before trying again…and stopping before any sound escaped his mouth. Exactly what was he supposed to say?

'Never mind.' Kousei's sigh was somewhat ambiguous, and for the next few minutes, they listened to Kouji and Takuya's "discussion"…until they got to the next red-light.

The noise in the back-seat was a rather drastic contrast to the silence in the front.

'So…how was school?' The father looked as awkward as the son felt.

'School?' Kouichi repeated as if it was a foreign word. 'Okay I guess.'

'Friends?' Kousei persisted.

Kouichi shifted in his seat and shrugged. 'I guess.'

Well, that conversation was dud again.

The red light glared at them.

'What were you and your mother doing?'

Kouichi stared at him. Not only was it an odd question, but extremely blunt. Particularly since the pair were divorced.

His father wasn't exactly looking at him, instead glaring at the traffic light. 'We need to talk about something,' he explained. 'The music channel's not working, and I don't want to listen to those two-' He jerked a thumb at the back. '-the whole trip.'

Neither did he, truth be told.

'Maybe I should move one of them to the front.'

'No!' Kouichi exclaimed. Then there'd be no possibility for peace.

'So…school?' Kousei prompted.

Right, small talk. He could do that…right? Only, he didn't often engage in small talk; there weren't many people to do it with.

'Well…' He fiddled with his thumbs a little. 'There really isn't all that much to tell.' He shrugged as the car eased forward. 'School is school.'

'Shall we play twenty questions then?' Kousei gave his son another side-long glance, and Kouichi looked somewhat relieved at the suggestion. 'Detention?'

Interestingly, he blushed.

'Oh, for what?' That had been unexpected; Kouichi was no-where near the troublemaker his brother was.

'Climbing on top of the school fence,' Kouichi muttered. 'I always liked it up there for some reason.'

And so he told the story, and by the end of it realised two things. It was apparently so interesting a story that Takuya and Kouji had listened, and that it wasn't that hard to make small talk after all…with a little prompting.

Only now he was out of things to say again.