For all he knew, Tohma Norstein never liked surprises.
The word surprise usually meant nothing but bad news and he certainly had his own quota of such in several moments of his life. Like the day he witnessed his mother´s death, for instance. Or when he was “invited” to join the DATS organization leaving the then 11 year old Tohma to accept. Getting used to those strange creatures known as Digimons.
Or the times he thought that his little sister would remain the cute child he helped heal only for Relena eloping with the first jerk that came across her heart… He still couldn´t forgive that bastard of Masaru Daimon stealing away his sister. Why didn´t that asshole remain in the Digiworld forever?!
But that wasn´t the right moment to dwell on cursing his dreaded brother-in-law and the party that was being thrown at that moment in the Daimon´s home. Nope. He thought that sneaking away from the celebration and lighting a cigarette outside in the cold could help him regain some of his cool, or at least mope in peace but Destiny had other plans.
The proud Nobel Prize winner´s cigarette fell on the ground before it could be lit; the young man´s eyes opened in unbelief when he was suddenly approached by two females.
One was quite tall, short blonde hair and her eyes were emitting the most decisive spark he ever saw in his life save for Masaru. But when his eyes met with the second one he almost got the fright of his life, was that RELENA?! How come Relena was back into her preteen years?!
“No, it cannot be” his mind shouted “I must had drunk a bit too much!”
As a Norstein he was not only blessed with super intelligence but was also supposed to have a huge tolerance towards alcohol. Born in Austria, with a mix of German and English blood running through his veins, and his mother always said how plenty of his ancestors used to drink like the norse God of Thunder and him having inherited such trait. He thought that after gulping three champagne cups his head was still untouched ( it was either drinking or succumbing to his wishes of murdering his brother-in-law. Almost 15 years passed since the wedding day and Tohma still hated Masaru´s guts) but now was beginning to question his own dna.
“I was told I could find you here” said the woman “Long time no see, Tohma-san”
Tohma frowned. Who the hell was she?
“You don´t remember, I take?” she kept talking before he could ask “Typical of a Norstein, believing that the world orbits around his egocentric nose. Always great to find miracle cures but when it comes with dealing with people you have the emotional spectrum of an igloo”
The man´s cheeks acquired a reddish tone, that was called indignation.
“And I believe you are not a guest” he replied in a cold tone “Madame, I don´t recall you being a part of Daimon´s circle of acquaintances”
His words sparked a laugh from the woman´s lips. The younger one , the Relena-alike stepped back, quite unsure of the scene. So he was Tohma Norstein! How many times did she hear that name from her mother´s lips? Countless of times she imagined this scene, sometimes looking forward to it and others, fearing it.
“It´s a shame you never got anything useful from that individual” her mother would always say, in a non hidden reproach “I believed he was the best candidate for a project that promised a Nobel for my curriculum and became nothing but a failed experiment…”
“Not his but yours” her smile grew wider, almost like a Cheshire cat “Come on! We used to work in the same laboratory!!”
Tohma grumbled. The champagne may had slowed down a bit his reflexes but not his memories!
He closed his eyes for a moment , putting in order his memories. Soon afterwards he opened them again, now in a sincere surprise. That woman was no other than Nanami!
Former digidestined who used to be one of Kurata´s Byo-Hibrids (or glorified lab rats) that almost got the Digiworld destroyed! It was hard to reconcile the tough, cold woman´s figure with the goth girl he fought in the past. The Nanami he remembered owned a twisted personality , her insanity was proportional to her beauty; who sane person would voluntarily let a madman like Kurata mess up with her body? His purpose was to destroy digimons by infusing digital codes on human subjects and his lab rats were totally on board with that aberration!
Tohma was the one who ended defeating her and erased all digital traces from her system. It was the only way to undo the damage , killing her digimon side, otherwise she would had lost her life besides what remained of her sanity.
Nanami couldn´t had remembered anything about her disgraceful role since the restoration of the Digiworld. No member of the trio should be able to overcome the imposed amnesia. Only the original digidestineds should own the privilege of the memories from the past because as part of the deal it was decreed, for Yggdrasil´s sake, that the collective memories of Digimons must be erased from humanity. At the beginning even the DATS members had to give up their memories of their digital adventures after bidding good-bye to their digimons. After being on the verge of destruction all sort of links between humans and digimons were better severed for an undetermined time while the Digiworld recovered its form and strength.
Without Digimons on the equations, the organization was disbanded shortly after. The only human spared of such was Masaru whom simply chose to go to live to the Digiworld with Agumon and the others…
Tohma shook his head while swimming in the events from the past. He recalled how with or without memories was focused on one thing: s searching for a cure for his little sister Relena. He worked his ass like a miserable for 4 years until he finally found his answer. By the time he was 19, he accomplished his goal and Relena was reborn as a healthy, 100%free from any sign of illness and ready to kick asses. This miraculous discovery did not go unnoticed and ended earning him a Nobel Prize of Medicine; with such recognition he finally won a sincere congratulation from the rest of the Norstein clan, a pat from his grinchy father and everybody´s admiration….yet all that achievements meant nothing to him when his heart secretly yearned for something else.At that time he didn´t know what made him feel so nostalgic but it felt as if missing something really important.
That something else that usually kept him awake during most of the nights manifested the next day he got his prize, when the sudden appearance of a rage crazed Digimon in Tokyo, threatening the safety of both worlds, forced the still dormant Yggdrasil to reawaken Tohma and the rest of the DATS´s squad memories ! Along with the memories they were granted a new digivice and Tohma and his former partners would go back into the battlefield and…they´ve been on the job sine then.
But the former Byo-Hybrids digidestineds weren´t included in the new deal; the deities from the digiworld wanted to have nothing to do with the trio who willingly participated in Kurata´s madness even if they hoped to fix their past messes. Nowadays they were supposed to be leading ordinary lives as ordinary citizens…
So here´s the question: what´s Nanami´s purpose by dropping by, uninvited, to the Daimons´s door?!
“We worked together for a good while” she continued in stonish tone “Your research was incredible, you were my inspiration. And I, like the fool I was, hoped that someday I would catch up to you…”
Her words should had been sweet but emanated a bitter smell in the air. There was no feeling of love coming from either her eyes nor her words.
“But no matter how much I worked it was impossible to get your attention. For your ego I was just another brick in the wall ”
Tohma´s mouth opened, the more he stared at the pair the faster his heart beat. A sort of premonition was struggling to reach the surface but his intellectual side was doing his best to drown it. The Nanami he remembered at the lab was nothing but an eyesore , always clinging to him . She used to call herself a genius and that only his could match hers but he couldn´t recall anything remarkable from her. She was more interested on seeking inconsequential chit-chats rather than properly working; so most of the time he ignored her save the moments she actually focused on science. The moments she was really into the research, focused, then she could really be a very useful assistant.One day she no longer came to work…
“In the end you were right, believing myself being in love with you was nothing but an illusion. ” she crossed her arms, offering an image that was the opposite of a lovesick gal.
A cold went through Tohma´s back. When he was 20 he was determined to be the brightest star in the science field and considered personal relationships an absolute waste of time. His mind was filled with developing more miraculous medicines in order to heal the entire world and since there were already enough humans in this world, he had no urge of helping on expanding the race. He considered himself married to his job and would often reject any sort of flirting, saying no to any date invitation and he certainly made more than one colleague cry every when it came to rejection of love confessions. The guys in the lab ended nicknaming him the Terminator , the women the Ice Prince. Whatever was the case everybody considered him a fella without a heart. Everybody ended giving up and apparently so did Nanami …until a certain night.
“But there was that time I was able to meet the human being hidden under all that ice. I will always call it the New Year miracle” Her tone was filled with mockery yet unable to hide the sadness. “And today it marks the 15 year anniversary of that memorable event”
The man´s jaw almost fell to the ground.
His photographic memory would never let him forget about it. How could he forget that New Year Eve, being the only ones working in the lab when the others were jollily back at their homes, celebrating New Year with their families and friends? Tohma chose to stay behind because of a research that promised to cause another revolution in the medicine world and wasn´t really looking forward to return to an empty house (or in the best case, spending New Year with his father who could make the Grinch look like a teddy bear) and wait for the next day. And he´d rather not go to Relena´s place because he was mad with Masaru for having secretly eloped with her, at that time he swore not to put a step on the Daimon´s house ever! So it was better receiving the New Year while being a productive member of the science , or so Nanami said at that time….yes, Tohma wasn´t alone that night. In the end Nanami asked if it was alright her staying as well after being stood up by her off-and-on boyfriend and declared herself fed up with all the males from this world. “I´´d rather work instead of mopping in the apartment, besides I have a project of my own that needs a revision. Would you help me, please…?”
One hour and two champagne bottles later (she casually brought some refreshments and convinced him to celebrate with her) they ended doing an experiment. The most instinctual, tribal, fusion-type experiment known in history…
“Kita, this is your father” Nanami´s words broke down the silence.
Tohma ´s brains almost exploded. That was his…WHAT?!
“Nice…nice to meet you” the girl politely bowed in respect “Otousan”
“NO” he couldn´t accept it. There was no way he and Nanami could…no way!” It only happened once!!”
Nanami showed no expression.
“It can happen on the first try, mr genius. But it´s okay, I was actually LOOKING FOR IT”
Her words , swiftly spoken, shook the audience´s world. Tohma felt as if he was suddenly punched by Mike Tsyon!
“Remember that time when I told you I was developing my own research? The type of research that may earn a Nobel Prize for me…?”
Kita bit her lips. She knew what her mother was going to say and even in her 14 years of life she would never be able to overcome them. The reason of her existence. And love was completely out of the equation …
“I remember” replied the young man “You never told anyone what you were working on. You were especially secretive about it…”
“I was looking forward to bear a magnificent genius” Kita´s eyes closed in pain, Nanami never was interested in being a true mother and it still hurt ” I was damned sure that a perfect combination of dna and a perfect environment could bring the Future of Humanity to the next level”
The man´s face couldn´t pale anymore, what Nanami was saying was so ..so…unexpected that he didn´t know how to react.
“You…seduced me…because…of such reason?!”
Kita dared not to look at any of them. She had no courage. In her 14 years she grew up in a cold environment, raised to be something that she turned not to be in the end…and the reason they were standing in front of Tohma Norstein, at the Daimon´s door was because….Kita flt she was going through a modern version of a Dickens´s tale, while never raised in poverty she was, at that very moment, as unfortunate as Oliver Twist. Like Oliver she was nothing but an unwanted child. A squint at Nanami´s face made her heart cry.
“You are nothing but a cursed failure!” she could remember those words since a tender age. Kita was born as a normal, cute girl. But not a genius. Never getting the highest notes in the exams, never being a formidable athlete either…if Tohma and Nanami belonged to the elite, Kita was just someone from the wishing multitude that would accomplish nothing but ordinary stuff I can´t believe I gambled everything on an average child. You were supposed to be the elite from the elite!!! The beginning of a new race of superhumans!!”
“You were just the perfect type. The fella whose genius characteristics were in perfect proportion with handsomeness and completely lacking of any kind of interest when it comes to sentimentalism…”
The man´s face turned purple, they had sex that one time and the following month Nanami quit her job. Never in his life he felt so ill. How could someone go through something like this and keep it a secret for a more than a decade…?!
“But since my experiment was ruined, there was no Nobel prize for me. The Norstein genes aren´t as perfect as I hoped. Damned be them, I lost precious years of my youth because of this…”
Kita dared to look at her biological father´s face for the first time and noticed them considerably cold.
“He hates me” she thought, desperate “He can´t look at me without feeling revolted”
“I want a DNA exam” the former digidestined managed to say “I demand one!”
“Do as you please” replied Nanmi, unfazzed by his words “She´s yours like it or not. Meanwhile there´s a plane waiting for me, the job of my dreams is waiting for me in Houston and since I gave up 15 years of my life…NOW IT´S YOUR TURN!”
And without giving a kiss to her child or saying anything else to the man she once desired to be hers, she left the dumbfounded pair behind. The taxi was already waiting for her and she would not waver, even for a moment, on her decision.
So Tohma Norstein received the New Year outside the party and with a child he never knew he had.
Kita Norstein, in the meantime, swore to herself:
“Mother never liked me and I see that neither will I get love from father. But I ´ll endure it. When I´m 18 I´ll be able to follow my own path….”