“So Yuujin, how was practice?” A green haired youth with blue eyes about average height and slim build for a eighteen-year-old with yellow goggles perched on top of his head asked his friend. The young man’s name is Haru Shinkai.
Yuujin Oozora was the same age as his companion but significantly taller and had more muscular frame to his body than Haru. He had spiky looking but fluffy ginger hair and comforting green eyes. “Um same old same old, nothing unusual.” Yuujin flashed a smile at his green haired friend. “What about the book you have been reading these last few days, what was it again?”
Haru giggled. He remembered telling Yuujin a couple times earlier that week what he was reading, but it seems he must have forgotten. “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, it’s by Martin Ford, an American scientist that discusses the great societal impact and possible revolutions that AI will introduce to our world.”
“Oh, so like Leviathan?” Yuujin raised his eyebrow suggestively at Haru.
“Not exactly, the book actually argues against the possibility of singularity.” Both snicker after Haru finishes talking, because if it wasn’t for them and their fellow Appli drivers, that same “impossible” singularity would have destroyed humanity.
The two friends kept walking to their destination. They were headed for Haru’s house. The two best friends wanted to spend more time together because they were going to different universities once high school was over. Haru had been accepted to University of Tokyo, the most prestigious school in Japan, while Yuujin was accepted to Yokohama National University, the alma matter of his mother. The distance between them was not too far, but it made interactions limited to the holidays or through technology. Their friendship could easily survive this challenge. Nonetheless, Haru was a little worried about Yuujin being alone, until he found out Wato was also accepted into Yokohama. And even if Yuujin somehow was unable to interact with Wato, the redhead athlete always had his cute buddy Appmon Offmon.
But as they were joyfully talking and laughing at each other’s comments about the silly antics at school, they were interrupted by a strange purple light. The two friends were enraptured in the glowing light for a few seconds and could see nothing but it. But just as suddenly it appeared, it vanished instantly, as if it had never occurred.
“What happened?” The redhead teenager pressed his best friend for answers. “Did we get momentarily stuck in an AR field?”
“I’m not sure, but let’s head back to my place and see if maybe Gatchmon can gives us some insight on what happened.”
Yuujin nodded his head at Haru. “Good idea.”
The two walked to the familiar house with blue roof tiles that distinguished Haru’s house from the other houses in his neighborhood. The two went to the door and Haru pulled out his keys. However, when he tried putting the key into the slot, the door wouldn’t open.
“That’s odd. My key doesn’t seem to fit.”
Yuujin looked at the doorknob and then Haru. “Maybe the doorknob is stuck? I remember mom had an issue with that and called a locksmith only to find out that the problem was a stuck doorknob, and all she had to was twist the doorknob before inserting the key to get the door open.”
The blue-eyed boy shrugged his shoulders. “It’s worth a try.” Haru placed his hand on the door knob and twisted it. He was about to place the key in the doorknob when he realized that the door wasn’t locked.
“Huh guess it wasn’t locked.”
“But that shouldn’t be possible. Mama isn’t home, she went to Hokkaido for a blogger’s retreat.” Haru’s mother had won a contest that only bloggers could participate. She wouldn’t be back in Tokyo for another week or so.
They both walked into the house. Yuujin asked his best friend, “Whelp let’s go look for Gatchmon, is he appliarised?”
“He should be. He didn’t want to go to school today and instead wanted to play in the park, so he might not be home. Gatchmon!” Haru cried out.
“Hey Haru, did you hear that?”
“Hear what Yuujin?” Haru looked dumbfounded on what his best friend was asking him to hear for.
Yuujin made a gesture to Haru to lower his voice so he could hear the commotion. “What the? That’s coming from upstairs. What’s going?” Haru was now starting to get a little nervous.
“I don’t know, but it seems we might not be alone.”
“It might be Gatchmon.” However, Haru thought to himself if it was him, why didn’t he lock the door. The Search Appmon never failed to lock the door when he got home.
“Maybe, but we can’t take anything for chance. Do you still have my bat?”
“Yes.” Haru grabbed it from the living room. Yuujin left it there the night before.
“Good bring it with us.”
“Eh!? Yuujin aren’t you being a little excessive?”
“Maybe, but it never hurts to be cautious.” Yuujin looked at Haru with a reassuring smile.
“Okay fine.” Haru held on to the bat. The two walked up the stairs and went straight for Haru’s room. They stopped when they reached the door to Haru’s room. The both crouched down on opposite directions of the wall adjacent to the door.
Yuujin spoke first, “I hear two voices, neither of them sound like Gatchmon.”
“It sounds like whoever is in there is having trouble breathing and moaning, possibly in pain. Yuujin someone is in trouble. We must go help them now!” Without thinking, Haru sprang into action and flung the door wide opened and barraged into the room as swiftly as he could.
The view Haru witnessed stunned him. A person that looked just like him was on his bed. The boy, a young man really, had no clothes on and was perched on top of another equally naked youth. The other young man seemed to be a duplicate of his best friend only slightly more defined and built. He laid on the bed with his hands on the hips of his “twin.” It didn’t take long for Haru’s brain to piece together what was transpiring before his eyes. The bodily fluids and odd color abrasions on their bodies were a dead give-away, but the smell was the clincher.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Haru loudly cried out.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The two occupants replied with equal shock cries of terror.
Yuujin ran into the room only to join in the screaming match when he witnessed the scene in the room. This couldn’t be happening thought all four individuals.
While everyone else was still screaming, the redhead young man on the bed slowly unseated the green haired youth sitting on him from his body. The ginger teenager leapt off the bed and ran to the entrance of the door, slamming the door on both Haru and his doppelganger. Haru and Yuujin ran quickly downstairs until they were in the living room. Both tried to regain their breaths and composure.
Yuujin broke the silence with a question. “What the hell was that?
“Are we in a dream?” Haru replied to his friend with another question.
“How is that possible if we are both in it?”
“Maybe we are sharing the same dream, I read somewhere that close friends can share a lot of unexplainable experiences, such as dreams.”
The taller youth lost it after hearing Haru’s explanation. “HAHAHA,” Yuujin laughed manically, “well I guess that would explain what we just saw. Those two must be the best of friends.”
Haru raised his hands to his friend and made a pleading gesture for him to relax. “Ok calm down, maybe we should let them change and talk to them to get an explanation.”
“Ok. I’m so glad you are the protagonist, Haru, because sometimes our adventures are just too much for me, and I cannot handle this type of crap alone. Did you see the size of that guy, is he even human? That thing of his cannot be fun for the other Haru.”
Haru had no words for his best friend and just chalked up the out of character comment Yuujin made to be the result of watching something so traumatic that he wasn’t thinking straight. “Yuujin I have a theory of where we are.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“I think we are in a parallel world.”
“What!? You mean like an alternate universe?”
“Yes. A world like ours but with some difference.”
“Yeah, enormous difference.”
“Ok fine, if that’s the case, how do we get back home?”
“I’m not sure, it would help if we could ask Gatchmon or another one of other friends, but we are out of luck.”
“Maybe we can ask our clones for help on getting back home, do you think they’ll help?”
“If the Yuujin of this world is anything like you, I’m sure he’ll be nice enough to offer some aid to lost parallel world travelers.”
“Sounds like the only option we have at this point, now we just wait till they come down.” Both Haru and Yuujin sat down on the living room couch and planned to sit their until their copies came down stairs. Eventually, the two would have to come down.
In Haru’s bedroom, the two occupants were having their own conversation on what just transpired.
“What just happened, Yuujin?” the teen on the bed asked his lover, who was still looking at the recently closed door.
“I don’t know, Haru.” Yuujin looked back at the boy sitting in the bed, using a blanket to hide his nakedness. While Yuujin had seen him naked almost daily for the last year or so, and first saw him bare skin when they were ten, Haru couldn’t help but feel ashamed of his naked body after being caught in such an intimate act with his boyfriend.
The youth with blue eyes asked his mate another question, “maybe it’s the work of an Appmon?”
“Or, it could be another… replica of me. Maybe Leviathan is back?”
“Yuujin, I think you might be overreacting. We should try to figure out who they are. If they were dangerous, then why didn’t they just attack us right away?”
“Maybe they are prudes like Rei, you told me he wouldn’t attack you, Eri-san, and Astra-kun that one time when you three were in your bathing suits.”
“Yuujin!” Haru couldn’t believe his boyfriend would bring that up at a time like now. “We should go talk to them and figure out who they are.”
“Ok sure. But if things get dangerous, run and I’ll hold them back. This was might not of have been the best time to be without any of our Appmon.”
Haru went to grab two towels from his closet. He wrapped one around his waist and began walking to the door. “I’m going to use the bathroom, it might take a little bit because someone doesn’t think before they act. Haru threw an accusatory finger at his lover.
“I did say I was sorry when it happened didn’t I?” Yuujin shrugged his shoulders and let out a grin. “Hey, be careful, and call for me if they are out there, okay?” Yuujin yelled out poking his head from the bedroom door.
“I will and go change yourself, right now Yuujin,” Haru shouted back at his best friend.
“Eh!? I’m not going to be able to use the bathroom? Haru! I’m going to smell all day if I don’t clean myself.” Yuujin voice resembled to that of the whimpering of a dog. Haru sometimes saw his boyfriend as being canine like, what with the loyalty and hairy thing, that and his buddy Appmon Offmon looked like a dog.
“No that’s your punishment, use one of my spare towels the best you can to try to make yourself clean. We need to figure this problem out and time is of the essence.”
Yuujin put on the same clothes he was previously wearing. A black sleeveless shirt and cargo shorts. He opted not to wear his green sweatshirt. Several minutes later, Haru came out of the bathroom. He began to rummage through his dresser. Haru found all the article of clothing he needed, minus a shirt or any other form of upper body clothing. “Why didn’t we do laundry earlier today?”
“I don’t know.” Yuujin shrugged his shoulders.
Haru reached down for Yuujin’s green sweatshirt. “Guess I’m going to have to wear your sweatshirt because someone stained all of my mine.”
“Ok.” Yuujin blushed in embarrassment and arousal, embarrassment because he remembered he used Haru’s clothes as makeshift towels during their love making session, and arousal because his boyfriend was wearing his clothes.
“Alright let’s go talk to the other Yuujin and me.” Haru grabbed Yuujin’s hand and led them out of his room.
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Yeah this chapter wasn't supposed to be this long, but it happened. That's why it took so long to churn out and submit. Hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Haru and Yuujin of this world went downstairs and walked to the living room. In the living room, their doppelgangers were sitting quietly on Haru’s sofa. “Oh, you two are still here, good that means we can talk” the Haru of this world said.
The Haru from another world spoke, “I’m sorry we barraged in like that. You two were having… an intimate moment, and that was rude of us to come in without knocking. Our sincerest apologies.” Everyone in the room blushed, recalling the incident.
“Um that’s okay.” This world’s Haru scratched his forehead and gave a weak, unsure smile. “I think the bigger issue here is what is going on?”
“Yeah, I don’t think there should be two Harus or two me,” this world’s Yuujin chimed in. The pair from another world noticed that this Yuujin was wearing brown slacks, but the upper portion of his body was only wearing a black sleeveless shirt, despite how cold it was outside. Haru and Yuujin chalked it up to the other Haru wearing the green sweatshirt of the other Yuujin.
The Yuujin not from this world explained, “we think we might have accidentally stumbled into your world from ours.”
“Huh?” Both this world’s Haru and Yuujin responded, a bit taken back by the explanation.
The other Haru explained to them what happened earlier. “You see, before we came here, both Yuujin and I were walking to my place when we got hit with a highly charged purple light. We were trapped for roughly three to four seconds and then we ended up here.”
This world’s Yuujin paranoia flared up and was unconvinced of their alibi. “So, what you are saying is that this sudden beam of light is the reason you are in our world? Sounds like crazy talk to me.”
“Is it really?” the other world Haru asked. “I mean is anything impossible in a world where Appmon exist?” He decided to name drop Appmon to see if it would help lower their suspicions on them.
“So, you two are Appli Drivers?” Haru asked.
“Yep!” The pair from a different world pulled out their Appli Driver Duos. They were the same color and designs as this world’s pair.
It made sense that their doubles would be Apple Drivers too. The couple surmised that if their “twins” were both Appli Drivers, then it must mean that the Minerva from their world trusted them, so they would too.
“Okay,” Yuujin said, “your story checks out, for now.” Haru offered a laugh to his boyfriend's response, but inside he was a bit annoyed that he still held suspicions about them.
Haru from the other world raised his hand to get their attention, and when he received it, he posed his question, “um, where is Gatchmon?”
“And Offmon?” his Yuujin added.
The Haru from this world replied, “they are with Eri-san. Eri-san wanted to reward all the Appmon for all the help they have provided over the years, so she is holding a private concert with her friends for our Appmon. All the Appli Drivers, Ai-chan, grandpa, and Hajime-kun were invited to go as well.”
The other Haru asked them an innocent question, “and you didn’t go why?” Yet, after asking that question, both this world’s Haru and Yuujin had matching crimson red face, so he figured he must have crossed an unknown boundary.
“None of your business!” Haru and Yuujin yelled in unison. Truth be told, they wanted to go, but they also were teenagers and hadn’t been intimate with each other in weeks due to how noisy Gatchmon and Offmon are. Not to mention, Haru felt uncomfortable in engaging in lewd acts while his mother was home. Technically, he could still be intimate with his boyfriend, since Yuujin slept in the same room as him and he had permission to lock his room. However, if his mother by some slim chance found out, she would never let him live it down. That and he knew his mother would blog about it.
A few awkward moments later and this world’s Haru popped the question. “Now the better question is how to get you two back home?”
Just then a familiar, but unexpected voice rang out, “why are there two Harus and two Yuujin Shinkais in the room?”
The man was the same age as all the occupants in the room. He was slightly above average height and had greyish green wavy unruly hair with red eyes. The young man wore black hooded jacket and dark blue pants with white zippers all over it. Next to him was his Buddy Appmon, Hackmon, a black colored draconic and canine looking creature with a blue cape and monster hood.
This world’s Haru’s immediate response was to call out his friend’s name. “Rei-kun!?”
“Shinkai?” The other world’s Yuujin said to himself.
“How did you get in?” Yuujin asked.
Hackmon pointed to the door that was now closed. “The door was slightly open, Rei was worried something happened.”
“Hackmon…” Rei tried scolding his Buddy Appmon, but decided to save it for when they got home. “Never mind how I came in, I originally came here to get my special cooking book back.”
Haru asked Rei to lend it to him because the book had a special chapter on pasta, and Haru knew how much his cybernetic lover enjoyed the dish. “Oh, why do you need it back so soon? Does it have to do with your anniversary with Ai-chan coming soon?”
Rei gave a slow nod and this world’s Yuujin flashed him a small grin.
“Anniversary with Ai-chan?” the other world’s Haru chirped.
“Is something wrong? Rei-kun and Ai-chan have been together for almost a year. Next Wednesday will be their anniversary,” this world’s Haru responded.
The other world’s Haru couldn’t believe what he had just been told. “What!?”
“What’s wrong? Did I say something odd?”
The Yuujin from another world put a hand on his best friend’s back to calm him down. “Sorry about that. Haru might be a little shocked because you see in our world he is dating Ai-chan. Rei is kinda dating one of Eri’s coworkers.”
Haru of this world pointed fingers at them and asked, “what? You mean you two aren’t dating?”
“Um no. Um we are not gay…” the other world’s Haru said, regretting the poor choice of words he used.
“Oh well you probably already know that my Yuujin and I are a couple.” Haru soon blushed realizing how dumb and awkward that statement sounded after they had been caught having sex. Yuujin blushed too after hearing Haru address him as “my Yuujin.” He found Haru’s hidden possessive side for him to be adorable.
Rei started to fake cough to remind the other occupants in the room of his presence. When he came inside the Shinkai residence, he didn’t expect something like this. The current situation was too much for him to handle. He’d rather listen to his little brother and Haru’s grandfather, Denemon Shinkai, go on a four-hour tirade about how to better perfect AI. “Can we go back to the real issue at hand? Explain to Hackmon and I what happened and then you all can go back to talking about your love lives and hopefully not mine.”
The other Haru and Yuujin offered him the same explanation they gave their counterparts. Rei, however, wasn’t entirely convinced.
“Can the Haru and Yuujin Shinkai of my world come into the kitchen.”
“Huh?” Both Haru and Yuujin replied before the pair were dragged by Rei into Haru’s kitchen.
“Rei-kun that wasn’t very nice.” Haru rubbed the arm that Rei grabbed him with, feigning that Rei pulled him too hard.
Rei ignored Haru. “Their story seems convincing; however, I’m concern that it might not be the case.”
Yuujin let out a smug grin. “See Haru, Rei also thinks they might be androids disguised to look like us.”
When it came to these situations, Rei and Yuujin being on the same wavelength usually meant Haru had to accept whatever plan they came up with. “Ugh, Rei-kun why do you love to encourage my boyfriend’s paranoia?”
Rei quickly responded, “It’s better to err on the side of caution, or did you forget what happened last time you failed to heed my warning?” Rei let out a tiny grin after saying that. He was never going to let Haru live that moment down.
Haru put his hands in the air and waved them showing he had accepted defeat. “Ok fine, you two can have it your way, I’m clearly outnumbered.”
“Yuujin Shinkai use your sensors and see if you detect any oddities in them, such as lack of organic material.” Over the last year or so, Rei had made some security upgrades to Yuujin’s body. One of the most important was making his android friend be impenetrable from hackers or malignant AI. Detection sensors were a minor feature added to ensure Yuujin could spot any threat. Yuujin easily accepted all the security upgrades that Rei placed in him, much to Haru’s annoyance.
“Roger,” was all Yuujin said. He went back to the living room and did a quick scan on them. The scan was invisible to the naked eye and neither of them noticed anything odd besides Yuujin standing there silently and observing them.
“No, they both are human…” Yuujin thought to himself how was it possible for that young man who appeared similar him to be human? A whole host of theories ran through his mind, none of them pleasant.
However, Yuujin stopped his thinking when Haru asked, “Yuujin are you okay?”
“Yeah sorry I got lost in thought.” Yuujin realized it was best to drop this to avoid his partner worrying about him.
However, Yuujin wasn’t the only affected by the surprising news. Haru began to think after being told that the Yuujin from another world was human. His mind wandered to the idea of a human Yuujin. However, he quickly brushed that idea from his mind. No, it doesn’t matter if Yuujin isn’t human, he is my Yuujin and nothing will ever change that. He will always be my Yuujin.
The three friends left the kitchen and returned to the others. Hackmon stayed behind. Over the years, Hackmon and Rei had developed an almost telepathic bond. Hackmon stayed behind on orders from Rei to ensure that the two other “worlders” didn’t attempt a run to the exit.
While in the kitchen and talking with the couple, Rei had come up with a plan on how to handle their “guests.” “So that’s it? Parallel worlds? Alright this might take a while, it would be easier if we had Haru’s Appmon with us, or his grandfather, or my brother. Nonetheless, Hackmon and I will try our best to find out what information we can on the Deep Web.”
“What can we do?” the Yuujin from a different world asked.
“Unless we need further information, nothing for now,” Rei responded.
“Will let you know once we find any clues on how to assist the doubles,” Hackmon added. Both Rei and Hackmon went to Haru’s kitchen table. Rei pulled out his laptop, thus beginning their search.
The pair of “duplicates” were sitting quietly for a while looking around the room, when the Haru from this world broke the silence. “So, I guess we just wait. Well it couldn’t hurt to talk to one another, right? Besides, it will be interesting to learn how it’s like on the other side.”
His Yuujin agreed. “Yeah, it’s not like they are time travelers and can’t alter the present.”
“Yuujin Shinkai?” The redhead from the other world was mildly curious on why his double had a different family name than him. He wanted to know how that was the case. Was he not adopted by Ms. Oozora like he was? Was this Haru and Yuujin step-siblings?
It took a few seconds before Yuujin responded to his look alike. “Oh, um I changed my family name after Haru’s mother adopted me. Oozora isn’t even my “mother’s” surname.” Yuujin started to tighten his hands into fists as he continued his explanation for why he had Haru’s last name. “The women I thought I knew my whole life wasn’t my mother. She was just a criminal that worked for Leviathan. She used me to hurt Haru.” Haru reaches out to Yuujin and begins to rub his arm to soothe him. Haru knew it was a painful experience for Yuujin to remember his traitorous mother, someone he thought that loved him but didn’t. And unlike what Haru experienced, it didn’t turn out to be a lie, it was reality.
Yuujin gave an apologetic look after hearing this world’s Yuujin’s story. “Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that. I shouldn’t have brought that up. My mother adopted me when I was ten. She worked for L-Corp but was in no way associated with Leviathan.”
Silence filled the room as both parties felt a little uncomfortable with the conversation that transpired between the two Yuujins. The silence was broken from the Haru not from this world. “It seems there are stark differences between our world and yours. How about we each talk to our fellow twin, one-on-one? We might learn something more about ourselves we never knew about.” While it seemed like an innocent request, he had a hidden motive for why he wanted to talk to the other Haru, away from both Yuujins.
This world’s Haru was uncertain about that request, “Um, I don’t know.” He was concerned that the other Yuujin would unknowingly saying something that could be triggering to his boyfriend again.
Yuujin took notice of how his lover’s reaction to the other Haru’s suggestion. He knew it had to do with his previous interaction with his “twin.” He decided to let his mate know that he was alright. He grabbed his boyfriend’s hand with his and gave it a nice squeeze and showed him a warm, gentle smile. “Let’s do it Haru, it could be fun.”
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Chapter 4: TBC
This is an update. This story is currently on hiatus until late June. I will post a new chapter then. I apologize, as a grad student I have been extremely busy but will update at more consistent rate this summer. Stay tuned!