A/N: Was browsing Ken-fics and suddenly inspired to pick this up again. So here we are! And crossing fingers that wave three isn't about to kick off. Hope everyone's safe and healthy!
Fly on a Wall
Chapter 3 - Conversation Starters
Yamato didn't know what to make of the conversation.
The dial tone seemed to echo in his ears long after he'd hung up the phone and returned to the table. After he'd updated his parents and they'd moved on to other topics. After, once they were well fed and watered and their father was bringing out the wine bottle and the two boys had retreated to their room instead and he'd updated Takeru in a little more detail as well.
'He said we can't help,' Takeru said, in the end. 'He was asking awfully specific questions, wasn't he?'
That he was, and it said, at least, that Ichijouji Osamu knew more than he'd let on. That Ichijouji Ken knew more than he'd let on. Were they like Jyou's brother and intimately involved in the Odaiba Fog incident? Or were they Chosen as well? The name Milleniummon sounded like a digimon but neither of them had heard of it.
He hadn't thought of that. But if Koushiro didn't know either, it didn't leave many options.
'What was the other name?' Takeru asked.
'Akiyama Ryo,' Yamato absently replied. 'Hang on, wasn't that name on the news as well?'
Takeru frowned. 'Can't say I remember. Then again, I hardly pay attention.' He wandered out, then came back a few minutes later with the cordless. 'Otou-san said he disappeared around two years ago as well. Same times as the Ichijouji brothers. Except he was never found.'
'Two years ago,' Yamato repeated. 'Two years after our own time in the Digital World. Where the time flow between our world and the Digital World rightened out, so anyone spending time there…'
'Would be missing from our world for just as long,' Takeru finished. 'It's possible, I guess, but we can't get in to the Digital World right now to confirm it anyway. And why call on new Chosen instead of us?'
'Don't go down that rabbit hole.' Yamato shook his head. 'I wrecked my head enough the first time round trying to figure out exactly that.'
'Sorry.' Takeru looked chastised.
'No, I'm sorry. Just being touchy.'
'Speaking of touchy…' And good old Takeru, Yamato thought, picking out the important parts of the conversation. 'Why would Ichijouji-san ask about the digivices specifically?'
'Why he's asking if we can open a gate?' That was a good question. 'He might know this Akiyama Ryo. Might know or think he's in the Digital World and want to find him, but can't get in himself.'
'Maybe…' Then Takeru shook his head. 'His brother's still a coma, isn't he. They plastered it all over the news, so I guess we'd have heard if he'd woken up afterwards.'
'Guess so.' And their father was a TV anchor. Their mother was a newspaper reporter. But the amount of attention on the Ichijouji brothers had been cringe-worthy even for their family. 'Doesn't pay to be a certified genius sometimes, huh.'
'Guess not.' Though having parents in the news industry had turned out to be surprisingly helpful in keeping the involvement of the digimon out of the media and away from other unwanted ears. It was amazing, too, what people forgot about once a reasonable explanation was provided - even if it was full of holes.
The conversation lulled there, both boys out of ideas except for Koushiro.
At least Koushiro was a late sleeper, usually.
Koushiro was, as predicted, awake and on his computer.
He, however, did not know anything about Milleniummon either. 'Gennai needs to add a search function to the next update,' he muttered to himself, one shoulder holding the receiver in place and the other hand tapping away at his laptop. 'Nope, nothing any of us have come across.'
'And Akiyama Ryo or the Ichijouji brothers?'
'I can say plenty on that subject,' Koushiro replied, as a quick google search brought up numerous results. 'I doubt much of it is going to be relevant, though. Our best bet is to contact Ichijouji Osamu again and just ask him.'
'He hung up,' Yamato pointed out, sounding disgruntled.
'He was looking for something specific,' Koushiro pointed out. 'He was probably focused on that. Doesn't mean he won't offer answers if asked.'
'Or confronted.' Yamato sighed. 'He lives in Tamachi. How are we going to make running into him not an accident. You don't know him, do you?'
'Not personally,' Koushiro replied. 'As you said, the distance is a factor. But Akiyama Ryo was not from the Tamachi area either. Though it's easier to find someone well known to the media than someone who's still missing.'
'Or in a coma,' Yamato said. After a pause, he added. 'That's got to be rough. If it were Takeru…'
'Takeru is fine.' Koushiro couldn't help but smile anyway. Taichi and Yamato were both exemplary examples of big brothers. At times, they made him wish he'd had a sibling after all, even though he had no way of knowing how much his life wound have changed if he'd had. Would they have been from his birth parents, similarly orphaned like him? Or the little baby his current mother had lost not long before they'd adopted him?
'Earth to Koushiro?'
'Sorry.' Koushiro shook his head a little, loosening the proverbial cobwebs. 'I was thinking about something irrelevant. But regarding Ichijouji Osamu, the only way really is to contact him. Did you check the caller-ID? Or maybe your father knows a way? Didn't he have an interview at Fuji TV today?'
There was a smacking sound on the other end. Perhaps Yamato had face-palmed at the suggestion. 'Funny how Otou-san's more helpful than any of us kids right now. And no, we didn't check since Otou-san was the one who'd picked up the phone.'
'I think that's supposed to be normal,' Koushiro pointed out dryly. 'The role of adults, I mean.' But he conceded Yamato's point. They were Chosen, after all. They'd saved a world that adults had had to watch fall apart.
Yamato muttered something to someone, presumably Takeru, and then was repeating a number that Koushiro carefully jotted down.
And when Yamato hung up the phone, Koushiro wondered when he'd volunteered to be the one to call Ichijouji Osamu. It wasn't like he had the answers, either. Though he could theorise.
Theorise there was another group of Chosen, for example, or multiple, because if the selection criteria for Chosen was seeing a digimon in their world, then there were numerous candidates from the Odaiba Fog incident running around. Or theorise that there were more people aware of them and the digimon than was necessarily a good idea. Or theorise that the original Chosen Gennai had mentioned had something to do with all of this.
There were too many possibilities, frankly, and he wasn't going narrow it down without more information.
And maybe Ichijouji Osamu had realised he'd dangled the proverbial carrot because he didn't sound too surprised to be called by a virtual stranger.
'Tunnel vision,' he said by way of explanation. 'I… got excited about something that had turned out to not be the case.'
'Why?' Koushiro asked. 'You don't seem to have a digivice, but you also know more about the Digital World than you should without knowing someone who has.'
'I do know someone with a digivice,' Osamu replied. 'Suffice to say their digivice is of no use to anyone right now, though.'
There was a story there. Koushiro could push, or he could take a path of less resistance instead. 'But you want to go to the Digital World?'
'Need to,' Osamu corrected. He was silent.
Koushiro waited. Then, when no explanation was forthcoming, offered his own theory. 'Is this to do with your brother's coma?'
There was a sigh on the other end. 'Disadvantage of being well known,' Osamu muttered. 'They turned my little brother into a spectacle.'
'Ishida-san isn't like that,' Koushiro felt the need to say… but Osamu had had an interview at the station. He could make up his own mind.
'I've met him,' the other replied. 'It's also two years after and the anniversary of something far more widespread.'
He was cynical, Koushiro noted. Cynical to a fault, even if one couldn't be blamed for not volunteering information to perfect strangers.
But curiosity, the need for knowledge – those drove them to seek information anyway.
'Is there something going on in the Digital World?' he asked, changing tacts. 'Are Tentomon and the others alright?'
'I don't know,' Osamu admitted, after another long pause. He seemed to decide something, at least, because he added: 'I do know that Gennai has been locked out of the Digital World.'
'What?' Koushiro yelped. That was bad… wasn't it? Truthfully, he still didn't understand a whole lot about Gennai's capabilities. He existed in the Digital World, yes, but he'd also mentioned he had a form in each of their worlds. Which meant if the Gennai of the Digital World had been removed, did one place have two Gennai and another had none? And what sort of functionalities were missing or doubling up? Was it like genetic material where both were bad? Or was it just the absence that would cause complications instead?
'You haven't heard of Milleniummon?' Osamu asked again.
'No, and my digimon analyser doesn't have it either… but it only detects digimon our digivices have encountered.'
'Digivices?' Osamu repeated.
Koushiro waited. Osamu didn't offer anything again.
'You don't know us very well,' Koushiro offered, 'but Gennai being abducted is concerning for us. He's helped us out a lot, in this world during the Odaiba Fog incident as well. And we've got partners in the Digital World and we're worried. If there's anything…'
'I suppose…' Osamu paused again.
Koushiro wondered if this was how two fairly socially isolated people had conversations without a middle person. In that case, he wasn't doing half bad. It was a shame about the circumstances, though.
And lucky he was a Chosen Child and had such wonderful friends.
'Do you think the Digital World – the enemies you fought, the things you went through – is something you'd willingly subject to other people who've never been there before?'
And Koushiro had to think hard about that one because the Digital World had changed him for the better, but they'd involved essentially being kidnapped to another world and some very trying times as well. And who was he to make that decision for others?
'I don't regret it,' Koushiro said finally. 'It's made me the person I am today. Gave me some wonderful friends. Allowed me to speak to my family about things we'd been tiptoeing about. Brought us all closer. But there were hard and trying times, and we didn't have the choice to go home for a long time… and then we didn't have much choice or time to say goodbye to our partners.'
'Yes,' Koushiro confirmed, though it sounded like Osamu was thinking about something – or someone – else despite saying Tentomon's name.
'I suppose I've opened a can of worms,' Osamu eventually sighed. 'But Motomiya-kun –'
'Oh, he's from the soccer team,' Koushiro explained. 'One of Taichi's and Sora's juniors. He doesn't know about the digital world aside from the Bakemon at the Convention Centre.'
Koushiro wondered if Yamato had already said something to that effect. Or maybe it was the Bakemon he was commenting on. Child celebrity being at the Convention Centre would have probably made the news headlines, even with Yamato's father filtering the content.
'How about…' Osamu hesitated, 'meet up somewhere? Those of you with digivices, I mean. We can trade information.'
The way he said it suggested he knew more than he was telling. He was hiding something. Protecting something.
Koushiro's theory about the younger Ichijouji brother being involved was becoming more prominent.
'And bring your analyser,' was the parting comment.
And maybe that meant he'd be bringing a digivice that had seen Milleniummon.