Chapter 10: Feeling of Loss
An elementary school boy with huge brown hair and a blue band looked up to where the voice came from. A boy with blue spiky hair in spectacle came to him. The boy felt annoyed. He just want to be left alone like he always was, alone. The ball he had been holding was bouncing on the ground he wondered since when. The boy with blue spiky hair stopped the ball from bouncing with his feet.
"Why don't you play with us?" He asked the depressed boy. "I heard what Hideki-kun did to you. He was just sour because you play better than him." The boy explained. "I had been watching you and I know you are really good in soccer. We can take Hideki's team down together."
"My name is Ichijouji Osamu and what's your name?" The blue haired boy asked.
"Taichi… that's the only name I know." The boy with the huge brown hair forced his words out. "I don't remember my full name."
"Are you suffering from a memory loss?" Osamu understood. That was why the boys in the neighbourhood picked on him.
"Let's make new ones, then. What was past is over, you can't create them but we can create all kinds of futures. Let's create new memories together!" Osamu extended his hand to the boy, Taichi for a handshake.
"Yeah, together! Let's be friends!" Osamu said. Taichi paused for a moment.
"Friends?" He took his hands.
The teenage boy with a huge brown hair, now known as Takenouchi Taichi woke up. He found himself dozing off in Shikansen (bullet train). "It's just dream." He was on his way back to Kyoto where he was residing now. Ken had yet to wake up when he left Ichijouji's residence. Taichi looked out of the window continued his thought about his dream.
After they became friends, Osamu introduced him to his family, Mr. and Mrs. Ichijouji and his little brother, Ken. Osamu, Ken and him often meet up and had fun together. The three of them especially liked to play soccer and Taichi appeared to be the best in it but was eventually defeated by Osamu had had seen through his moves. Things changed when Osamu met with an accident one day and died. It was a heavy blow not just to the Ichijoujis and he himself too. He had lost his only friend. His heart ached. It felt that it must how it feel like for his forgotten family to lose him if he had one. If only he could remember.
"Oniichan." Ken cried turning to his back. He thought it was his brother who had came back. The funeral of his brother just ended.
"Takenouchi-san…" Ken addressed him in disappointment. Taichi was just adopted by the Takenouchi family and he was going to move away to Kyoto.
"You can call me Taichi just like before." Taichi said to the broken young boy. Somehow, it felt natural to him to be an elder brother and naturally he was protective over him.
"You can always call me as and when you like. I'll visit you as and when I can." Taichi pulled up his protective charm with the symbol of the sun and put around Ken's neck. He hoped that the protective charm would give him the courage to move on like it did for him.
Ken had shunned all his friends away since then.
The next time Taichi saw Ken, he was no longer the kind Ken he had known. He was about to call Ken when he saw him on his way to visit the Ichijouji's. Ken kicked a cat right in front of him to his horror. The cat flew a distance away before landing in with a thud whimpering in pain.
"Do you know what you are doing, Ken-kun? It's alive."
"Really? I don't think it'll die from it. The cat should be honoured to act as the ball for my practice, Takenouchi-san." Ken replied in a sarcastic tone.
Overwhelmed with fury, Taichi challenged Ken to a soccer match one-to-one.
"I don't mind but let's have a wager. So I win, you'll do whatever I say. If you win, I'll do whatever you say." Ken instigated.
Taichi was shocked at the unbelievable improvement Ken had and he lost because he lost his head. The request Ken had for him since he lost took him aback.
"That's all you have, isn't it, Captain of the Nagaoka Boys F.C.? As promised you'll do whatever I say. Quit soccer. That's all I need from you. You're an obstacle to me for my advancement to the All-Star Youth League." Taichi stared at him could not believe what he had heard. It took him a while before he agreed.
"Alright… I'll quit soccer. But I want you to promise me to stay safe. Don't make your parents worry. They really care about you." He stood up and stated his condition.
"You've got to be kidding me, loser."
"PROMISE ME!" Taichi yelled startling Ken. Taichi had never felt this desperate before. He did not want Ken's parents to feel the same sorrow he had caused to his forgotten family.
"Tsk… This is so ridiculous. Alright. I promise you that I'll not worry my parents, Takenouchi-SAN." Ken responded and left in a huff. To think there was something he had his dead brother was jealous about. Ken thought to himself.
Since then, Taichi had never broken his promise. He quit soccer much to the shock to everyone in his Elementary School. As a distraction, he ran for the student council president in the Middle School, nominated by his teachers and became one even though he was just a freshman the year before.
He was still worried about Ken despite that, he often contacted his parents often asking them to keep a lookout for him. Ken was definitely different from the Ken he knew. And then Ken disappeared in May. He often called his parents during this period and was really glad to hear that he was back after three months. Ken was always sleeping since his return. He decided to have a heart-to-heart talk to him once he was ready. That had to be during the next school holiday as the summer holiday was ending.
But meanwhile, he had to drop an e-mail to his American friend. He had something to ask him.
Taichi pulled out his mobile phone to send an e-mail. His Digivice fell out of his pocket at the same time. He picked it up preciously holding it close to his heart. It was almost the only thing from his past he had left now.
Mrs. Ichijouji just came out of Ken's room.
"How was he?" Mr. Ichijouji asked. His wife shook her head.
"But I'm sure he'll wake up someday."
Ichijouji Ken was asleep in order to find his heart. Where was his heart? Ken was not a genius. His big brother, Osamu was the genius. He could do everything. Even their neighbours said so. They even wished that their kids could be like him. His mother loved hearing those words. Whenever his mother praised his brother, she only praised him "in addition"." Momma only cared about his brother because everybody praised him. It did not matter if he was around or not. He was living in his brother's shadow.
"Would they focus their attention to me if my brother is not around?" He often wondered. "If only he wasn't around, if only… Ahh… That's it all he need to do is to disappear. Yes, oniichan, disappear!"
One day, a Digivice appeared before their eyes from their computer. Osamu was elated claiming it as his. He had been obsessed with the Digivice because his new friend had one which he found it unique. By right he should have everything because he could do everything.
"But nothing happened. It was just there." Osamu was disappointed; maybe it was just really an ordinary alarm clock.
Ken opened the drawer where his brother kept the Digivice. He knew it was something special. Not even his brother's friend, Takenouchi-san knew. Ken was excited even just by looking at it. He just wanted to get his hand on it. The Digivice indeed glowed for him.
Osamu was fuming when he saw Ken with the Digivice. He actually blew up. He slapped the Digivice off his hand scaring him. Ken was really shocked.
"Don't touch my stuff without my permission." He snarled in fury.
"Sorry." Ken apologized in a timid voice.
"This is mine!"
"I'm sorry." Ken apologized again.
"Going through someone's desk without asking. Only worst kind of human do that." Osamu said. The fact was Osamu felt a little uneasy when his friend told him about the Digivice. It was fated that he managed to get his hand on one too so his friend was not the only special one.
"This is mine! Never touch it without my permission, you heard me?" Osamu yelled. "You're distracting from my studies. Get out of my room now!"
"I'm sorry." Ken apologized profusely. Now his brother hated him. He saw him as the worst kind of human. He was sad. Osamu had everything but he had nothing.
"I wish my brother will just disappear!"
And then it happened. His brother died. Ken wondered if it was because he wished he would disappear. His parents were devastated. Ken did not know what he should do.
"Where should I go? Where do I belong?" He felt really really guilty.
One day, Ken found an e-mail for him when he was going through his brother's computer. An e-mail was written by someone specially for him. This was what he said.
"Your brother passing away was an unfortunate accident. It must have been traumatic for you but don't worry. Your brother had gone to a better place after passing away. You don't have to feel guilty at all."
Ken did not understand the meaning but he wanted to believe in it. It was easier that way. The person convinced him that the current world was not meant for him and there was another world which suited him better. It was a world that would free his mind completely. He was asked to open that drawer, that drawer where the Digivice was kept.
"Use that Digivice!"
That was how Ken ended up somewhere in the dark, the Dark Ocean. He plunge the Digivice into the water and changed it into a shape he had wanted which was eventually known as a black D3.
"That's right! This is my Digivice. Not anyone else, not Takenouchi-san's, it's just mine and mine alone!" Ken held the D3 close as his gentle eyes turned evil.
Their parents had a talk about Ken. They noticed that when Ken reached Osamu's height when he passed away, he became really good at his studies. His mother thought maybe Osamu came back to them but they had never thought of how Ken felt. They felt really ashamed for comparing Ken to Osamu.
"Ken has many good traits, which was his alone." Mr. Ichijouji remarked. Guessed they had become snobbish being called the parents of a genius. Not just Ken alone, they also wondered if Osamu really like studying? Maybe he liked playing more? Since when they had stopped him from enjoying himself?
That was when they realized they had failed as parents. They hoped that Ken would wake up soon so that they could apologise to him properly.
Ken, in his dream continued to search for his heart. When he was young he used to blow bubbles. The bubbles become bigger and bigger. Osamu-niichan was the one who made the water and cut the straw for him so that he could blow bubbles.
"Oniichan, you try!"
"But I'm not good at it."
"There's something you can't do?" Ken was astonished. Osamu was good at everything.
"Of course, you're best at blowing bubbles because you blow kindly." Osamu said in a gentle tone. "I can't do it. They always burst." He blew the straw and popped, he disappeared.
"Oniichan, where are you? Come back!"
Of course he would not come back. He was dead.
Ken finally woke up to their parent's delight. But the first words Ken said shocked them.
"Who? Who are you?"
"You don't know who we are?" Their parents asked carefully. They thought he had lost his memory.
Wallace was on another hike somewhere chatting with someone on his laptop. They were on the topic of memory. Wallace looked depressed reading the e-mail. He was a 22 years-old university student. He confided with him about a dream. He felt that he had been on an adventure when he was a kid. It was a place full of danger and monsters. He wanted to tell them why but could not. That was a rule he had to keep as their confident and "Guardian."
"Wallace…" Terriermon called his name.
"I'm sorry." He smiled to his partner who was hugging the Digiegg. He clicked on a file by accident and a profile of Ichijouji Ken appeared to him.
"His case was different. He will only suffer from memory gap as a result of his defeat." Wallace said to himself lean back to the wall. His laptop beeped. Wallace was surprised as he received an e-mail from a Japanese friend, Takenouchi, who he would often contact for assistance especially if Izumi's team had an issue. That guy never initiated an e-mail unless he needed someone to confide in, this time, about his dream just as he expected. He was expecting his e-mail after the incident with Chocomon.
"Maybe I should study to be a psychologist, Gumimon." Wallace joked as he replied to his e-mail. Terriermon giggled.
Ken did not lose his memory. All he wanted to ask was what meaning do they have for him. He watched the woman who could not believe he could not remember them talking to her husband. They did not know who was he either. Just who was he?
"It's okay. You don't have to push yourself, Ken-chan. We're just happy that you're safe." The woman said gently. They were sorry that they could have forced him to be like Osamu without realizing. Ken was Ken, they had never noticed his good qualities until now.
"Please forgive us and get better soon." The woman said in a worried tone.
Ken did not know what these two were talking about. He did not know what they mean.
"Osamu is gone, remember?" The man said.
"Yeah, Osamu-niichan Is gone."
"He died, Osamu-chan isn't here anymore." The woman started crying. "So we just want you to be yourself, Ken-chan."
"She is crying, but why? I'm the one who's sad." Before he realized, he found himself crying.
"Tears?" Ken felt tears running down his cheek. "Tears in my eyes? Why am I crying?" Maybe he could share the sorrow of losing Osamu-niichan with these people.
It had been a few days since he woke up from his deep slumber. Ken still felt empty. Just where was his heart?
"Ken-chan, dinner is ready." The woman came to call him. "Ken-chan?" She placed her hand on his shoulder startling him. He turned and looked at her blankly. His mother understood. She comforted him instead.
"It's alright, you don't have to push yourself." The woman before him said gently. Ken spotted a photo of Osamu and picked it up. The feeling of sadness was overwhelming.
"I see Osamu's death had affected you the most." His mother said wiping her own tears.
That night, Ken sat in front of his computer. He pulled out his drawer unconsciously and was caught in surprise. A black paging device and two protective charms revealed to him. One of the charms had a flower shape embedded in it while the other was blanked out.
A memory of a worm-like creature flashed through his mind. The worm was in tears.
"Wormmon." Ken blurted out. He stood up and slammed his desk.
"Ken-chan, how about some tea?" His mother knocked on the door. She came into the room and found her son gone missing again.
Ken was travelling aimlessly. He was in the Digital World searching for his heart. Before long, he had arrived to a location filled with Digieggs.
"What is this place?" He asked. A voice ranged.
"This is the Village of Beginning This is where Digimon who die become a Digieggs and are reborn." A baby Digimon replied.
"Reborn? Even Wormmon too?" Ken asked. He felt hope all the sudden.
"All Digimon become Digieggs and are reborn." The baby Digimon reaffirmed. Ken smiled at its answer and started running in the village searching for Wormmon. But there were so many Digieggs, which one was Wormmon? He did not even know who he was, how would he know which one was Wormmon's Digiegg?
Suddenly, another baby Digimon started yelling at him. It recognized him as Digimon Kaiser.
"What do you want with Wormmon's Digiegg?" It demanded and attacked him. Ken blocked his attack.
"Digimon Kaiser?" This name rang a bell.
"That's right. I'm the Digimon Kaiser. I had done horrible things. I'm the one who caused Wormmon's death. Then what am I trying to accomplish by looking for Wormmon's Digiegg?" Ken clutched his head in confusion. Another baby Digimon spoke up answering his question.
"If you find the Digiegg, Wormmon will come back. You'll be able to free yourself who let him die. You'll be free from the guilt. Isn't that so?" It demanded in a harsh tone.
"You are a selfish guy. Wormmon won't be reborn for someone as selfish as you." Another Digimon sneered.
"Wormmon won't come back? Yes, Osamu-niichan didn't come back either." Ken realized in dejection. It was just wishful thinking of his. That was the reality he did not want to accept. Like Osamu-niichan, Wormmon was dead. He killed them. He killed the brother he hated the most and Wormmon who he thought was the worthless being. He sank to his knee.
"I'm the worthless one." He realized in defeat. He was worthless and he was petty. But right now he was so hurt by Wormmon's death. Speaking of which, what if he died? Wormmon would surely be sad for him and he might the only one who would be sad for him. His hands trembled.
"And still, I killed Wormmon myself." Ken was in pain. He recalled Wormmon's last moment when he dissipated from his arms. Tears rolled down his eyes.
"What you did is something unforgivable. What is done cannot be undone."
"You can't erase the past" The baby Digimon continued. "Everything is part of you. The Good and the Bad are both part of you. "
"I have to live accepting everything in me." Ken realized. He had to accept the fact that he was the Digimon Kaiser, that his brother was dead and that he let Wormmon die. But it was okay. He would be able to. Because the memories with Wormmon would keep him strong.
"That's right! Wormmon was always with me." He remembered. Back then he took his brother's Digivice and he explored Digital World with him. That was his forgotten memory.
"No, it was the memory I locked away. But why? Why did I have to forget?"
Ken recalled his journey with Wormmon and someone else. Wormmon was glad that he was Ken-chan's Digimon partner because Ken was kind.
"Kind?" Ken asked Wormmon remembering his brother's words. He was best in blowing bubbles because he blow gently (kindly).
"But kindness alone is not enough. You have to become stronger or you will be overwhelmed by your own kindness. Ken-chan, the Digivice you have is yours, not anyone else but yours. Just like your heart is yours, don't forget that. And, don't run away."
So Ken was lying to himself when he said he did not have anything. It was because it was easier to think that way. It was easier to hate his brother. He hugged his own shoulder.
"Osamu-niisan, I'm sorry. Wormmon, I'm sorry. I'll live accepting all the unforgivable things I had done." And his Crest of Kindness glowed.
"This is your crest." The baby Digimon said.
"My Crest?" He asked and turned his head over. A Digiegg was glowing and reacting to the crest.
"Ken-chan, find me! Hurry up and find me!" A baby Digimon in the egg said.
"This Digiegg?" He walked towards the glowing Digiegg.
"Why is it glowing like this?" He touched it and it reacted. A leaf-like baby Digimon appeared.
"Ken-chan…" The baby Digimon greeted. "Are you looking for my Digiegg?" He asked. Tears well up his eyes.
"I looked for it really hard." Ken said picking him up.
"Great! I knew you'd be able to find me."
Tears continued to stream down Ken's face.
"What is it, Ken-chan?"
"Thank you for being reborn." The baby Digimon started to cry.
"Ken-chan." Ken hugged him to his face. He was happy about Wormmon's life. He wonder if Wormmon was the only one who was happy for his life.
He knew he was wrong.
Taichi's Agumon had witnessed everything. Instinct told him to follow Ken in case anything happened.
"Why do I feel that I have to stay close to him?" Agumon wondered looking up to the sky. The sensation was similar as when he still had Taichi as his partner three years ago.
Back at the Ichijouji's. Mrs. Ichijouji was crying her eyes out.
"He may never come back this time!"
"Don't say that. I'm sure he'll come back." Mr. Ichijouji said consoling his wife.
That was when Ken came out of his room. His parents were relieved.
"Where were you?"
"We thought you disappeared again." His mother cried. Ken was surprised. His mother was crying because he disappeared. He was touched
"Mama." He said.
"What did you say?" His father could not believe his ears.
"Did you just say Mama?" His mother asked. "Did you just say Mama?" Tears welled up Ken's eyes.
"Mama, thank you for giving birth to me." Ken said gratefully. His mother took her boy into a hug crying tears of happiness.
"Papa, sorry I made you worry." His father patted his head in comfort.
"Osamu-niisan, I can say this for the first time. Thank you for everything."
On the other hand, while Ichijouji's were rejoicing at their son's return. Another mother was suffering. She sat at her living room and continued yearning for her dead son. Droplets of her tears fell on the photo of her son.
"Taichi…" The loss Mrs. Yagami felt was unbearable. Mr. Yagami took her into his arms to comfort her. Hikari could only watch over her agonizing mother sadly at her bedroom door with Tailmon hiding behind the door.