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hirenmonogatari; a tale of tragic love

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“We crossed SA Bridge Point 1.”

“The literal bridge?”

“Yeah, that one. How did you Warriors get here? Isn’t the closest FR Bridge Point way too far away?”

“We came through a portal with them. It’s difficult to get all the way down Shibuya Station when we’re all together.”

Everyone sat together under the shadow of the trees. The children were quickly introduced to Daimon Masaru, a DATS Agent, though none of them knew what DATS was.

“Well, anyway. Touma told me you were all back; apparently he noticed Takeru on his book tour and had me check the Bridge Points.”

“Well, of course it’d be Touma-san. Who else would be in Europe?”

“I was in Europe just a few weeks ago too, Yamato-san!”

“You’re from our same world, Daisuke. You don’t count.”

After the following laughter died down, Masaru cleared his throat.

“Touma says he’s coming to Japan next week so we can compare notes. I’ll go to Yokohama to meet with my parents first, then Touma is getting Yoshino and me to Kyoto.”

Koushirou started making arrangements to clear his schedule as much as possible. His wish had been to build his career around Digital World research, but during the time the worlds had separated there had been a drought of information, and he was forced to shift his focus to giving classes and developing software; he didn’t complain about it, but it was nowhere as interesting as getting to know more of the Digimon and the Digital World.

He was sure Professor Takenouchi and Shuu-san would be excited.

“Where is Yoshino-san living, anyway? Considering our current situation, she might as well be our neighbor.”

“Haha, she might be, Takuya. Last time I checked, she had transferred to Shibuya from Yokohama.”

“Shibuya? All of us Warriors live there, and Hikari also lived there recently, right?”

The three other Warriors and Hikari nodded.

“Her son should be a first year in high school already; his name is Fujieda Kichirou.”

Both Daiki and Kouichi gasped at the same time, before looking at each other.

“Wait, you really know him?”

“Well, yes. He’s my student. But like it has happened so far, I wasn’t able to make the connection.”

 

“Master, we have a call from Masaru. It seems he found something.”

Touma stood up from his desk and followed Gaomon towards the conference room. He wondered what reason Masaru could have to request the call to be projected on the large screen, and let him know as much once he had reached the room.

“Well, I wanted you to take a good look at what I found.”

The camera moved to the left of Masaru's face, showing him a large group formed by digimon, children, and adults that he recognized after a moment.

He couldn't help but laugh.

“Good job, Masaru.”

 

“Well, this has been fun, but I gotta go. My followers are waiting for me on the other side of BP 1.”

With Masaru gone, and more than their current goal having been completed, some of them started leaving, promising their children that they would meet their recently made friends once again in the summer.

Daiki decided to approach Kouichi while Mitsumi was distracted saying goodbye to her friends. He took great care to not call him dad when she could hear; he didn’t want to confuse her, and his parents had decided to not take that step yet.

“Hey, dad.”

Kouichi smiled at him.

“Hey, Daiki.”

His father’s smile was contagious; Daiki couldn’t help but smile widely too, and his chest felt warm.

“I didn’t ask you during the party because there was a lot more to talk about, but you’re not advising any clubs yet, right?”

Kouichi shook his head.

“Are you planning on starting one?”

“Yeah, well, I was talking with some classmates and we came up with something. But, there’s also something else I wanted to ask you to do for me.”

 

We’re going to Japan next week! I can’t wait to see you!

“Oh? Mom, did you know Touma-san is coming next week?”

Yoshino turned around to look at her son, and shook her head.

“He hasn’t called or sent a message yet.”

As if on cue, Lalamon flew out of the bedroom holding a phone.

“Yoshino! It’s Touma. It seems to be something important.”

Kichirou tuned out the conversation; he could more or less figure out how it would go. Instead, he turned his attention back to his chat with Sonia.

                            That’s great! On business or for fun?

Hm. A bit of both, I think. Dad said it was for research and to see “old friends”.

“What?! For real?!”

His mother’s reaction caught his attention.

“It’s been so long… Next week, then? Alright. I wonder what to do about Kichirou though. I don’t like the idea of him missing school, but I wouldn’t want to make him miss the chance to see Sonia. Oh, really?! No, I had no idea, I was away the first two weeks busting an illegal fight ring, so Rio was the one who took care of that. I’ll let him know then. Oh, then, could you help me contact Sora-chan? Thank you! See you next week!”

It certainly didn’t go like he had imagined.

                    It looks like I’ll be missing school to go with you. I wonder what’s so important.

“Kichirou, Touma will pick us up next Tuesday morning to go to Kyoto.”

“What about school?”

His mother smiled brightly.

“It’s okay, I’ll go talk to your teacher on Monday. But it seems like he already knows about it.”

“Kimura-sensei does? Wait, first of all, what’s this about?”

“Well, where do I start…”

Kichirou exchanged a side look with his partner, Hagurumon. They both knew it would take long.

 

Kichirou sat in his bedroom, trying to process the information his mother had given him while she was busy catching up with the Sora-san she had mentioned. Physics weren’t his specialty let’s not even talk about Digital World physics so a lot of it didn’t make sense.

“I think your mom made it even more difficult to understand. I know I didn’t get half of it.”

“Maybe Touma-san will explain it better. But I wonder what we’re going to Kyoto for.”

“And what she said about your teacher; can you see him being a Chosen Child?”

Kichirou thought for a while; there was the incident the first day of school with that Kobayashi guy and his partner, Terriermon. Kimura-sensei didn’t look as surprised as he had seen a lot of adults do, so maybe he really was a Chosen Child.

“Let's see what happens on Monday.”

 

Monday arrived once again, this time carrying the end of the Golden Week break with it.

Daiki’s bruise had mostly faded, but he was worried for a different kind of reason now. His father had asked him if he was sure he wanted to go ahead with it before it was official, but he thought that the sooner he made the change, the better.

Especially if his parents decided to get married within the next three years.

He arrived with a couple of minutes to spare before homeroom, and immediately went to greet Hiyori. Her family had been out of the city during the break, and they hadn't seen each other since the previous Sunday.

“How did everything go? Did you get to talk with him?”

“Yes, we somehow found time to talk in between all the Digital World conversation.”

Hiyori smiled; it looked like the awkward phase between them had ended.

“Everyone, go to your seats.”

Kouichi interrupted the conversation between them, and as Daiki made his way to his seat, he caught his father looking at him. He had raised an eyebrow, probably wondering if Daiki still wanted to go through with it. He just nodded.

Alright.

“Aizawa Hyouten-kun.”

“Here.”

“Akabane Matsuri-san.”

“Here.”

“Abe Akitoshi-kun.”

“Here.”

“Oshiro Hiyori-san.”

“Here.”

“Kageyama Miyabi-san.”

“Absent.”

“Kano Ayato-kun.”

“Here.”

“Kanzaki Shinya-kun.”

“Here.”

Here it goes. Or not.

“Sawamura Asuka-san.”

“...Here?”

Daiki could feel the stares and could hear the whispers. Hiyori looked at him too. Why had Kimura-sensei skipped his name?

Kouichi continued taking attendance, and a few names later Fujieda Kichirou was called. Kouichi couldn’t help but smile a little when saying the name, with the knowledge that they were a bit closer to tracking down all their numbers.

They were approaching the end of the list.

“Morome Haruka-san.”

“Here.”

“Morome Ryou-kun.”

“Here.”

It’s my turn now.

“Yagami Daiki-kun.”

“Here.”

“Wakahisa Ayumu-kun.”

“...Here.”

“It seems only Kageyama-san is absent. Sawamura-san, you live close to her, right? Please take her homework on the way home.”

“Ah, yes, sensei.”

Some announcements followed; the last day to sign up for a club or apply to start one was on Friday, and it was decided that Sports Day would be held at the start of June.

“And last, Shirakawa-sensei got sick during the break, so she’ll be absent this week. Seto-san, please pass these worksheets along to your classmates. I’ll see you after lunch.”

And with that, he left.

As Chiyoko passed the worksheets along to her classmates, Takumi and Ayato turned around to talk to him.

“Hey, what’s up with the name change?”

“Are… Are your parents…?”

Daiki sighed.

“Yeah, they’re getting divorced. It’s still not official, but I asked da I, I asked Kimura-sensei to change my name on the list already. Better sooner than later I guess.”

“I see, so you’ve started using your mom’s surname… Yagami-kun.”

“More like I went back to using it.”

Chiyoko arrived with their worksheets, and the conversation ended there.

 

Finally, lunchtime.

Kichirou brought out his lunch and sighed. He didn't understand much of the situation with the Digimon; he knew his mother had worked on Digimon related cases when she was younger, alongside Touma-san and Masaru-san. He knew of the Digital World and had been there twice. He understood Digimon partners.

But there were so many things he didn't understand as well. He didn't understand the situations that led to something like DATS or the Chosen Children to be created. He didn't understand digivices. He didn't understand how different worlds could merge and then separate, just like that.

He sighed again.

“Hey, Fujieda.”

Yagami and Oshiro were standing in front of him. Kichirou wasn’t a very social person, mostly sticking to Hagurumon and Sonia as his social circle. He also thought of Yagami as not very social either, so he was surprised to be approached by him.

“Wanna have lunch together?”

I have no reason to refuse, but if I accept I’ll just end up being a third wheel.

“Nishimoto and Nomura are coming too.”

“Ah. Alright.”

After meeting with Nishimoto Takumi and Nomura Tsukasa at the class door, the group walked to the back of the building; an open but relatively private place not many students visited during lunchtime, surrounded by a few trees.

“Fujieda, the four of us have been talking before about starting a new club, and we wanted to know if you'd like to join us.”

“A club? I don't know… I don't think we have anything in common we could start a club for.”

Daiki smiled.

“You're the child of a Chosen Child, aren’t you? Your mother is DATS Agent Fujieda Yoshino-san.”

His mother didn’t use the term ‘Chosen Child’ for herself, though. How did Yagami get that information anyway? It seemed that Nishimoto and Nomura were even more confused than he was.

Kichirou nodded, but frowned at Daiki who just smiled.

“Then there is something we five have in common.”

Something fell from the tree behind them and landed on Daiki's head.

“Hello~”

It was the Terriermon from the first day of class.

“We want to create a Digimon Partner Club!”

Hiyori, Tsukasa, and Takumi yelled, excited. Everyone already knew about Terriermon, but he didn't know these three also had Digimon partners.

“I see…”

“My partner is Piyomon”, Hiyori started. “Daiki-kun helped me out since I didn't know how to handle it at first.”

“Takumi-san’s partner is Commandramon, and mine is Wormmon.”

“We still don't know very much about Digimon partners… That's actually a common problem for those of us whose parents aren't Chosen Children.”

“Even outside the Chosen Children, there were some people from the same generation who received partners too, but not enough to become commonplace. So, the club's purpose would be to spread knowledge of the relationship between humans and Digimon.”

“I see…” Kichirou smiled. “Count me and Hagurumon in. Oh, I’ll be out of the city for a few days though. I won’t come until Friday.”

“Don’t worry, Fujieda-kun; we’ll take care of it. But now that we have five members, let's get the rest of the details in order.” Hiyori took out a notepad, where she wrote down the names of their members.

“Oh, Yagami-san, who's going to be our advisor?”

“It's going to be my I mean, Kimura-sensei. I already asked him.”

Takumi raised an eyebrow.

“Really? When did you ask him, Yagami? We only came up with this on Friday before Golden Week.”

Daiki made a strange face.

“Does it matter? He's the best option by far. We gotta get him before someone else decides to start a club and gets him for theirs.”

“Best option by far…”

Kichirou! It turns out your homeroom teacher is an old friend of mine! He's also…

“Ah, it's because he's a Chosen Child too, isn't it?”

Takumi and Tsukasa gasped.

“Is that true?”

Kichirou nodded. “My mother told me last week. And if you know all this, then you’re probably the son of a Chosen Child too, aren’t you, Yagami?”

It was now Daiki who was frowning, but it softened after he sighed.

“Yeah. My mother is Yagami Hikari; she’s one of the Twelve.”

And my father is Kimura Kouichi, one of the Legendary Warriors, and our homeroom teacher.

“Ah, I did hear the name while my mother explained the Merge to me last week.”

“...What are you talking about, Fujieda-san?”

Daiki sighed.

“It’s complicated, but I’ll explain as best as I can once we actually have a club. Hiyori, please write down the purpose…”

 

Kichirou was grateful that he didn’t have cleaning duty that day; with all the club talk, he completely forgot to tell Kimura-sensei that his mother wanted to talk to him after class, so he hurried to make sure he could get to him before he left the school.

He was lucky; he had to thank his mom for giving him such a lucky name.

“Ah, Fujieda-kun. Can I help you?”

Kichirou couldn’t help but notice that once again, Kimura-sensei was smiling at him.

“Yes. Actually, my mom will arrive in a few minutes, because she wants to talk to you. We have a, uh an emergency, and will leave the city for a few days. Yeah.”

Kimura-sensei laughed.

“Oh, yes. You’ll be in Kyoto, right? Masaru-san told me about it. It’ll be nice to see Yoshino-san after such a long time.”

So they really know each other. Sensei really is a Chosen Child.

“Kichirou, I’m here… Ah! It’s really you!”

“Yoshino-san, it’s been a while.”

“It really has! Thank you for looking after Kichirou.”

“It’s no problem at all. He was just telling me about your trip to Kyoto. You’ll be back by Friday, won’t you?”

“That’s right. Touma will stay longer in Kyoto, and it seems he’ll spend some time here in Tokyo as well, but I personally don’t really have much business to do in Kyoto; Masaru and Touma are the ones who have more information.”

“I’m sure Koushirou-san will appreciate your help. We’re still trying to make sense of what happened all those years ago…”

Their faces turned serious, and Yoshino lowered the volume of her voice.

“By the way, I ended up hearing from Sora-chan, about you, Hikari-chan… and Daiki-kun.” Yoshino glanced at Kichirou out of the corner of her eye as she said it.

Kouichi’s smile returned, though not as bright as before. He, too, glanced at Kichirou for a moment.

“It’s fine. We’re taking things slow, and I’m getting along with him just fine.”

Kichirou was trying to understand what they were saying; was Daiki, Yagami Daiki, Kimura-sensei’s son? And if he was, then it meant Yagami was the child of two Chosen Children, and hadn’t mentioned it back then.

The more he thought about it, the more complicated the situation turned, and by the time he focused back on reality, his mother was saying goodbye to Kimura-sensei and he was walking into the teacher’s room.

“Ah, Kimura-sensei. Here’s the club registration form you asked for. Finally becoming an advisor after so many years, huh?”

Kouichi smiled.

“Yes, I guess so.”

 

The school had a soccer club, a volleyball club, a literature club, a choir club, a math club, and a cooking club; pretty normal stuff. Daiki hadn't really explained which kind of club he had in mind until Saturday, during their call, and he was incredibly happy when he heard about it.

In a way, he would continue the project Hikari had started—long before the worlds had merged for the first time—but had to give up for several reasons.

He knocked on the classroom’s door, where the group on cleaning duty was just about to finish cleaning the desks.

“Daiki-kun, I have the registration form. I’ll be waiting for you in the teacher’s room to fill it.”

“Alright— Alright, sensei.”

Kouichi smiled and left; Hiyori giggled behind him.

“I’ll go with you, Daiki-kun. Since I’m the secretary.”

 

With the classroom clean and their classmates gone, Daiki and Hiyori went to the teacher's room.

“You got used to calling him 'dad’ really fast, Daiki-kun.”

Daiki blushed, but returned Hiyori’s smile.

“Well… I was only told good things about him, and no one blamed him for not being with us. Now that I’m learning what happened, I can understand.”

He sighed.

“Also, I never liked that other bastard to begin with. On the other hand, Dad is really nice and kind with my mom, and with me.”

His smile returned brighter than before, and he took Hiyori’s hand.

“I hope I can properly introduce him to you soon, as my father.”

 

A few teachers were still in the teacher’s room, the rest gone to their clubs, and Kimura-sensei led them to a larger desk on one side of the room.

“The president will be Daiki, and the vice-president… oh, Fujieda-kun?”

Hiyori nodded.

“We voted for them since they’re the ones with the most experience.”

“Hiyori is the most organized, so she’ll be the secretary, and Nishimoto is better at math, so he’ll be the treasurer. Nomura says she can design posters and anything else we need.”

“Nomura-chan made the poster for the math club, since her girlfriend is there. It looks really nice!”

Kimura-sensei copied the rest of the club information on the registration form, and smiled at the two students.

“Alright, it’s done. I’ll give this to the principal, and I’ll let you know what he says.”



“...No.”

Kouichi didn’t think the principal would be so straightforward.

“But, Ueno-sensei—”

“The answer is no , Kimura-kun. It’s one thing to have that one digimon hanging around the school once in a while, but to have a club with all its members bringing their partners into the school every day is something completely different. There are still many people afraid of digimon, and I won't risk getting the school in trouble over a club.”

“That’s the point, sensei. These students want to educate other people so they are not afraid of digimon anymore! There is no reason to fear them!”

The principal sat back on his chair and looked up at Kouichi.

“May I remind you, Kimura-kun, that the last big scale digimon attack was really not that long ago? It's been only sixteen years. The students we currently have are too young to remember; heck, some of them hadn’t even been born yet!”

Kouichi was aware of that; Daiki was born half a year after that fight, never mind the fact that he had been in a whole other verse.

“Back then, we had those Legendary something-or-other to defeat the digimon, but we don't know where they are now. I cannot allow you to put these students in a dangerous situation you can’t protect them from.”

“See, this is why we need the club. You are wrong, Ueno-sensei.”

The principal looked at Kimura, puzzled.

“Digimon can and will protect their human partners. And also…”

Kimura took something out of his pocket and placed it on the desk; a black and gray device.

“I am one of the Ten Legendary Warriors that defeated GrandDracmon almost sixteen years ago. I can and will protect my students from any dangerous situation.”

The principal stared at the digivice, eyes wide in astonishment, and then at Kouichi. His mouth opened and closed a few times. Finally, he sighed and closed his eyes.

“...Let me think about it.”

Kouichi retrieved his digivice and left the office in silence. The years had definitely allowed him to mature and become much more patient, but Kouichi knew that he still had a bit of an anger problem; if he had insisted any more, he would have gotten in trouble, and his students wouldn’t be allowed to have their club.

He did reveal he was a Warrior, though; it wasn’t like they had made a vow to never reveal their identities as Chosen, but they had decided that it would be safer for them to not have the government involved, especially after meeting the DATS agents. The Twelve had taken the opposite decision, but it seemed to be working for them so far.

It was time to leave; he could only hope now that the principal would approve their club.

After getting his stuff from the teachers’ room, Kouichi walked towards the school exit, only to find Daiki standing near the shoe lockers.

“Daiki? I thought you had left with Oshiro-san already.”

Daiki sighed and shook his head.

“Not today. Her parents were going to pick her up personally, so I couldn’t…”

Kouichi raised an eyebrow.

“Do her parents know you two are dating?”

Instead of answering the question, Daiki blushed and looked away. Kouichi sighed.

“I’m not going to give my opinion about your love life unless you ask me to, but I don’t want you two to get in trouble.”

“Don’t worry, we’re always careful… Anyway, I wanted to ask… Is it okay if I go home with you today? Mom is busy signing the divorce papers, and I’d like to spend time with you and Mitsumi-chan…”

Kouichi blinked in surprise a couple of times, and smiled.

“Of course, Daiki. Let’s go get Mitsumi.”

 

“You are now officially a single woman again. Congratulations, Yagami-san.”

Hikari held the documents tightly, and smiled.

“Thank you, Abe-san. You were a great help.”

“Just doing my job. Oh, look at the time! It’s my turn to get Sachiko and Yoshiko home… Hey, Yagami-san, would you like a ride to get your son? His school is on the way.”

“If it’s not a bother, sure. Thank you, Abe-san.”

It was a quick trip in Abe’s van, and when they stopped in front of the high school, they could see Daiki and Kouichi walking out of the building together.

“Daiki! Kouichi-kun!”

Hikari climbed out of the van, and Kouichi and Daiki walked up to her.

“Mom? I thought you were busy signing the divorce papers.”

“We finished a bit early, and Abe-san offered to give me a ride to pick you up, since her daughters’ nursery school is nearby.”

“Then they might be Mitsumi’s classmates… Oh, and Hikari… I’m glad it turned out okay.”

Kouichi smiled at her. Daiki could see something more in his eyes, like the feeling he got when he had to go separate ways from Hiyori while walking home.

Longing.

He didn't have time to check, but the same thing might have been in his mother's eyes too, because she threw herself at his father's arms in a hug, being selfish for a moment that no one would blame her for.

 

“Okay, it’s time to…”

Kouichi came out of the kitchen to find Daiki and Mitsumi sitting together, with Terriermon and Yukimibotamon on their laps, taking selfies.

“Hey, don’t leave me out!”

Leaving the food on the table, Kouichi joined his children in taking pictures. If only Hikari was here too , he thought, but he knew he had to be patient for Mitsumi’s sake; she had just started healing from her mother’s departure, and Kouichi wouldn’t want to make Mitsumi feel like he was imposing a new mother on her.

Hikari had stayed behind at the nursery school to talk to the principal, in hopes of getting the spot that would be left open soon. At the very least, she had him, Abe-san, and her wife as school trusted references, even if she didn’t have experience after she finished studying.

“Oh, by the way, da—I mean, sensei, what did the principal say about the club?”

“Club? What is your club about, Daiki-oniichan?”

Daiki smiled at Mitsumi, and patted Terriermon’s head, who was clinging to his arm.

“It’s a Digimon Partner Club. I want to teach other people that Digimon are nice, and there’s no reason to fear them.”

“Oh…! That’s so cool, Daiki-oniichan! I don’t want people to be afraid of Yukimibotamon.”

Kouichi sighed.

“We have to wait. At first he said no, but I convinced him to at least think about it. He’s afraid that the school will get in trouble for ‘putting students in danger’. I had to pull out my digivice to convince him that it would be fine.”

Daiki looked down for a moment, thinking.

“Hey, uhm… about your digivice…”

Kouichi cleared his throat.

“Mitsumi, since you finished eating, you can go play to your room. I’ll call you in a bit so we can do something together, alright?”

Mitsumi nodded, and ran to her room with Yukimibotamon in her arms.

“Sorry. She doesn’t know the whole story about the Legendary Warriors yet, and I have a feeling that you’re going to ask about it, don’t you?”

Daiki nodded. While they had met a couple of times outside of school and were able to call each other since they had discovered their relationship, there really hadn’t been time to talk about more serious topics, just the two of them.

“Mom barely talked about you until the day that guy pushed me, and she mentioned that you were the Warrior of Darkness. During my life, there have been no Digimon threats, and battles weren’t really brought up by the twelve of them. But in Takeru-san’s books… uhm…”

“I see. What have his books covered so far?”

“Up until they defeated BelialVamdemon.”

“Well, there’s a reason he has shown darkness as a bad thing up to this point. You see, darkness is the easiest element to manipulate. It’s powerful and versatile, but also easy to corrupt.”

His father’s voice was firm with experience, and an image flashed through his mind.

“Corrupt… like the Digimon Kaiser?

“Yes. Like the Digimon Kaiser.”

Daiki stayed in silence for a while. Takeru-san had made sure to not only include all the evil that the Digimon Kaiser had done, but also how much Ken-san had suffered. If it worked like that in his father’s case…

“Can you tell me a little about it?”

Kouichi smiled—not out of excitement, but a mix of nostalgia and wisdom.

“I won’t make it long; but for several reasons, I grew to hate Kouji before I ever talked to him, since we grew up separated, with very different lives. When he was called to the Digital World, I had a fatal accident, and my soul ended up there. My hatred, my loneliness, and my pain resonated with the Spirits of Darkness, which were already corrupted. I became Duskmon, and actually tried to kill not only Kouji, but Takuya and the others too. I hurt Kouji really bad, and gave Takuya such a fright that he gave up for a while.”

Kouichi took out his digivice, and placed it on the table, staring at it.

“Kouji saved me and brought me back, and the purified Spirits later resonated with my wish to change, and accepting and letting go of the hatred I had for him. It was liberating; as Duskmon I was stronger than the others, but it hurt. When I became Löwemon, I got even stronger, but it was a strength that could save, and heal, and purify. Eventually though, I found out I was as good as dead in the real world, so I took a hit in the final battle to give the others a chance to fight Lucemon. Kouji came back, and saved me again.”

Kouichi smiled again, this time brightly, and looked up at Daiki.

“That’s the short version. Evil always takes a hold of darkness because it’s more powerful and easier to corrupt, but it is only one side of the coin. Where there’s darkness, there’s also light, and they will either work hand in hand, or clash against each other. For your mother’s team, it was a battle of light against darkness; for my team, it became a battle of light and darkness against light and darkness.”

 

Hikari rang the bell on Kouichi’s door. Her talk with the principal had gone well, especially after she had mentioned that the amount of kids bringing their Digimon partners had increased, and Hikari revealed that she had her own. With two families already vouching for her as well, the principal asked her to bring her documents as soon as possible, so they could have everything ready before the other teacher left.

The door opened.

“Daiki and Mitsumi are watching a movie. How did it go?” Kouichi smiled as he closed the door behind him.

“It went great, actually. I just need to bring my papers; apparently, they really need my experience with Digimon.”

Kouichi laughed.

“Well, the children tend to bring their partners along. I’m glad you can continue that project, in a way. Like Daiki is doing.”

Hikari smiled; Kouichi held her face in both hands, and got closer to her.

“I… I still really, really love you, Hikari.”

“I love you too… But let’s not rush, okay? I suddenly feel like a teenager again…”

She laughed and blushed, but Kouichi closed his eyes.

“I know what you’re going to say to this, but… I’m sorry, Hikari. You shouldn’t have gone through the pregnancy and raising Daiki on your own; I should have been there.”

“Kouichi-kun, stop…”

“I had already decided to ask if you wanted to marry me.”

Hikari stayed in silence, thinking about what Kouichi had just said. After a moment, she smiled, and held his hands in hers.

“You know I would have accepted.”



Tuesday morning. Kouichi arrived to the school earlier than usual; he hoped to be able to talk to Ueno-sensei before class, to check if he had taken a decision. He ran into him outside of the teachers’ room.

“Kimura-kun, a minute, please.”

He was led to the principal’s office, and to his surprise, the other teachers were there.

“Ueno-sensei…?”

“This is what I decided; we’ll hold a meeting with the school staff today, after classes are done for the day. This is how we’ll decide whether your club becomes a reality or not.”

 

Kichirou, Yoshino, Rio, Hagurumon, and Lalamon stepped out of Touma’s private plane; they were quickly driven to the conference room where Touma, Sonia, Masaru, Koushirou, and their respective partners were already waiting.

“Kichirou!”

Sonia waved her hands to get Kichirou’s attention, despite the fact that there were only a few people present. He sat beside her, and could see that she had her computer ready to take notes and keep up with whatever explanations were given.

He could trust Sonia to explain it to him later, then.

“Welcome, Yoshino-san, Rio-san, Kichirou-san. Unfortunately Professor Takenouchi and Shuu-san weren’t able to come, but I’ll be looking over the new information with them later.”

“That’s fine. By the way, Koushirou-kun, I am looking to buy the equipment we had at DATS from the government; I am sure it will be useful for our research.”

“It surely will, Touma-san. Please tell me if you are successful. But let’s focus on the information we have now.” Koushirou opened the diagrams that he had created back during the Golden Week reunion. “According to the other teams, there was a period of a few years before they were able to communicate with their Digital World again. It started from the Warriors’ verse, just a few months after our worlds separated, and it slowly took effect in the next verse over the years. I estimated that you could restore communication with the Digital World about eight years ago, but I want to confirm with you if that is true.”

Touma looked at Masaru.

“Hm. Yeah, I think that’s right. It’s very hard to keep track of Real World time in the Digital World, so when I came back I was surprised it had only been around eight years; thought for sure it had been more than that.”

Koushirou nodded; with this piece of information confirmed, Koushirou went on to explain to the DATS agents his theories and the information he had gathered from the other teams and from scanning Reichmon.

Kichirou couldn’t keep up at all.

“Hey, it’s like this.”

Sonia had put her computer away, and drew a much simpler diagram on a piece of paper; five circles drawn beside each other, marked from A to E. Above them, five smaller circles, marked from DWa to DWe. And slightly overlapping those, a rectangle that spread from one side to the other, hastily filled up with pencil.

“The Warriors had a fight here,” she said, pointing to the place where DWa and the rectangle overlapped. “and they used an attack that messes up reality. Because they did it in this place, the Dark World, that is connected to every Digital World, the effects reached all the way here.” She dragged the pencil from DWa to DWe, drawing a line.

“...That’s way easier to understand. Thank you.”

Sonia smiled.

“Of course, there’s much more to it, but there’s still a lot to research. I’ll explain it to you when we get to that.”

 

“Junpei-san suggested that someone might have rewritten our data to prevent us from teaming up again, likely the same being who caused the worlds to separate.” Koushirou said after they had discussed all the information they currently had. “The Warriors have more experience with the human-data transformation, so we’ll need their help to study that.”

“The next step then is figuring out who did it.” Touma added.

“I believe it was Demon.” Masaru said, hitting the desk with his fist. “Demon was the last enemy we fought all together.”

“It’s certainly possible. Like I mentioned earlier, the Warriors had to fight against GrandDracmon, who came from the Dark Area, soon after the worlds separated, so that might have something to do with it.”

“We sealed Demon back in the Dark World for good, right? Along with Dagomon.” Yoshino added, closing her eyes to focus on remembering. “And the Dark Area is just the part of the Dark World that reaches the Warriors’ verse, isn’t it? Which means that it’s connected to the Dark Beach where Dagomon lives in and where Demon was sealed the first time. They could have easily teamed up.”

“Maybe they teamed up and separated the worlds to get our teams one by one?”

“But then, why would they need to modify our data to prevent us from recognizing each other? As if they were expecting us to eventually be able to meet again.”

“And we sure did!”

Koushirou closed his eyes to focus on thinking. If only Gennai was here , he thought, despite knowing that it was impossible.

“I think we should first find out why the merge occured in the first place. The original one, I mean.”