there's beauty in the in the break down
my december 10 : let go
/Daisuke, wake up/.
Come on, time to rise and shine, lazy.
"Dark?" said Daisuke sleepily. He felt heavy with sleep but strangely light, as if he had lost something.
Wake up, Daisuke.
Daisuke opened his eyes.
"Hey," said Dark.
Daisuke sat up and rubbed his eyes. "What happened?" He stopped. "Is Hiwatari-kun all right?"
"Dunno," said Dark.
"That isn't very nice," said Daisuke, still sleepy. He looked at Dark and realized that he was dressed in grey. Something else was wrong, but it took a minute for him to realize what it was. "Your wings! What happened to your wings?" Every pinion was tipped in white.
"You should see Krad's," said Dark dryly. "I think he's madder about the black on his wings than he is about being sealed."
"Sealed?" repeated Daisuke. "You sealed Krad?" He rubbed his head. "I remember you pushed me away. We were in a cave and Krad was there and a bunch of blood."
"Yeah," said Dark. "Krad killed the Commander in Chief for trying to unseal the Black Wings. Did a pretty damn good job of it, too."
"Both of them."
Daisuke supposed he was still sleepy, because something didn't quite make sense. "Why did your wings change after you sealed Krad?"
"Well, that's the thing." Dark crouched close beside Daisuke. "I sealed the Black Wings. Emiko did, I mean, but I asked her to."
"I don't understand," said Daisuke in a thin, scared voice. But part of him did, and part of him was saying no, no, no we didn't have enough time...
"I sealed both of us," said Dark, very gently. "I had to. I'm sorry, Daisuke."
"No," said Daisuke. "No!" He flung himself on Dark and clung to him. Dark put his arm around him and let him cry for a few minutes. Daisuke sobbed into the warmth of Dark's wings, feathery and soft against his hot cheeks.
"Hey," said Dark, nudging him. "It's okay. You'll be okay."
"I don't want to be ok," said Daisuke. "Don't go. Please don't go!"
Dark shifted Daisuke so he could look at him. "Listen to me, Daisuke. It was time."
Daisuke lifted his head and scrubbed at his eyes. "Am I being selfish?"
"No," said Dark. "I'm sorry, Daisuke. I don't want to leave either. But all things come to an end. Even art." He smiled for a second. "Maybe even especially art."
Daisuke heaved another sobbing breath and was quiet. "Is this what you wanted?"
"Yes," said Dark. "I don't want to have another partner."
Daisuke looked at him and smiled as best as he could. It was sort of watery but that couldn't be helped. "Okay," he said. "Go safely."
"Safe's never interesting," observed Dark thoughtfully. "Listen to me, Daisuke. I had to seal you before I sealed the Black Wings. You can get home still but it's going to be hard. And --" He hesitated and then made a face. "Oh hell, I hate helping him. Hiwatari's lost; he went away before we got to the vault. Can't say I blame the poor bastard."
"You might as well get used to calling him Satoshi," said Dark, not bothering to explain himself, as usual. "He's around here somewhere. I'd help you if I could, but I'm running out of time."
"Are you going to be alone?" said Daisuke in a small, unhappy voice.
"Well," said Dark wryly, "I'll have Krad -- if you can call being sworn at five ways from Thursday 'company'. He'll stop sulking. Eventually."
Daisuke decided he really did not want to know.
"I wouldn't have told you," said Dark, as if explaining a grievous fault away, "but I doubt you could get back without him." He got up.
Daisuke got up too. He was determined not to cry but his eyes stung.
Dark looked at him, his eyes filled with affection. "You're a good kid, Daisuke," he said gruffly, and ruffled Daisuke's hair. The next instant he disappeared into a shower of light. Daisuke blinked rapidly, trying to force back his stupid tears. When he managed to focus again, a black feather tipped in white floated down softly from nowhere and landed on his hand.
"I am you," said Dark's voice.
"You are me," replied Daisuke softly, and turned away.
He looked around and realized that he was in a place that was nothing but white. For a minute he thought it was snow, and then he realized it was huge drifts of paper and canvases. There was no exit that he could see. He picked a direction and began to wade through the paper, calling Hiwatari-kun's name and listening for a reply. The paper muffled his voice.
"This is really freaky," he said aloud.
He walked for a very long time, looking and shouting for Hiwatari-kun until his voice went hoarse and his eyes watered from the unending whiteness.
"This isn't working," he said. He sat down and rubbed his forehead wearily. "What would Dark do? Fly. But I can't fly. Dark said there was a way out. Think, Daisuke." He looked down and saw a spot of black half-covered by a sheet of paper. He pushed the paper aside and saw it was an ink painting -- a sketch, really -- of a swallow. He touched it and the bird fluttered its wings and leaped off the paper. Daisuke yelped but the bird didn't fly away. The little thing's eye, perfect in every detail but still unmistakably made of ink, looked at him.
Daisuke reached out and the swallow landed on his hand. He felt the bird's tiny claws grip his hand, a prickly shivery feeling. The bird opened its beak in a silent chirp, and took off from his hand in a soundless flutter of wings. It flew around his head, opening and closing its mouth as if it was singing. It reminded him a little of Towa-chan.
He got up and the bird flew in a wide arc, swooping around him and away before coming back again.
He followed it.
The swallow led him across the wasteland of paper and he almost didn't realize it when they entered a forest -- an ink painting of a forest. He stopped for a second and stared as the ink bled from black to brown and deep green, turning the forest from black and white to colors. The swallow landed on his shoulder and chirped. He squinted and saw that it was colored, too, light greys and browns. It took off again and Daisuke followed it through the ink forest. As they went deeper, the forest became more and more realistic.
Finally they came to the edge of the forest. The swallow flew a circle around his head and dipped near his face, as if saying goodbye, and disappeared.
"Really freaky," said Daisuke.
He looked around and saw a group of children flying kites. Something about the scene seemed familiar. He walked toward the children.
They were singing a song in clear, childish voices.
Kite flying on the wind
Take our troubles far away
Kite flying on the wind
We the little children pray
Kite flying on the wind
Take our troubles far away
The children sang it two or three times, and then chanted, "I gave you my new kite but you lost IT!" and one of the children disappeared and their kite floated lazily away.
They repeated the song and the chant several times, and each time a child disappeared. By the time Daisuke reached them there was only a little blonde girl in a blue kimono in the kagome pattern, and a little girl with red hair, whose kimono pattern Daisuke couldn't place right away. 'Red feather', he remembered. The scene reminded him of a picture that hung in his room, of two girls flying kites. The picture had a short poem about flying kites in spring written on it.
"Hello," said the girl in the red-feather kimono. "Have you come to play with us?"
Something about that game made Daisuke's spine shiver in primal unease, but he smiled and shook his head. "I'm looking for someone. Have you seen him?"
The blonde girl studied him for a second and then put her arm on his sleeve and tugged. He knelt down and she put her hand against his ear and whispered, "He went away."
"/He/ did," she whispered. "He was sad and tired so he went away. He had blue eyes. Like mine. So I let him go."
Daisuke looked at her. "What was his name?"
"He didn't tell me," she said. "But I know."
The girl in the red feather kimono tugged his other sleeve. "Did you see my kite? The man made it for me. He wasn't supposed to."
Daisuke looked up, following the lines of the kite strings. He realized that the emblems on the kites were the Niwa crest and a cross in a circle. He'd seen that mark before. He swallowed, his throat suddenly dry. "Why did the other children go away?"
"They aren't real," said the blonde girl.
"Are you from over there?" asked the redhead with grave interest. "I remember over there."
Daisuke felt queasy. He remembered now; the picture in his room was of two little girls who were supposed to have died in a plague, and it was kept there because one of the girls was a Niwa. The other little girl must have been a member of Hiwatari-kun's family.
He was in a piece of Hikari art.
"Can you help me?" he said, trying to keep his voice friendly and calm. "I need to find him."
The blonde girl stared at him for another long moment. "What's his name?"
"Hiwa -- Hikari-kun," he said. "Hikari Satoshi-kun."
The redheaded girl skipped in place. "/I/ know a Hikari," she said proudly. "Father said I wasn't to talk to him but he gave me a kite. He said, You're a good girl, little one. I have a daughter your age. Don't come here again or a monster will eat you up.
And then," she finished, "I was sick and I fell asleep and I woke up here with her."
Daisuke kept from shuddering by a sheer effort of will. He looked at the Hikari girl, who simply looked back at him. Finally she pointed toward the hill and said, "He went that way. You'll help him."
"Of course he will," said the Niwa girl. "Niwa always do."
"I'll try my best," he said.
The Hikari girl nodded, and a small smile blossomed on her face.
Daisuke knew, in theory, that the Hikari clan made the work that the Niwa clan stole.
Theory was a lot different from practice.
He followed a thousand different paths in a thousand different worlds. One world was nothing but a river in a forest and a creepy feeling in the back of his neck like something old and dangerous was following him just out of sight. One was a town square where all the people had eyes without pupils. Most of the worlds seemed perfectly normal at first, but there was always something wrong about them. Some of them were just plain horrible, like the butcher's shop; it seemed normal until you began to wonder about the proportions of the hanging carcasses. The hind legs were too thick compared to the forelegs; after a while you began to think that whatever had hung there had walked on two legs -- and then he couldn't get away fast enough.
Worlds of flocks of butterflies, poison-bright, red and green and eye-searing blue; worlds of endless snow; worlds of nothing but ocean. Worlds where pretty girls swung eternally on vine-covered swings. He hurried through them all until he almost forgot what he was looking for, except that he must find it.
He stumbled away from a world where birds sang in voices like shattered crystal, and realized he was back in the paper wasteland. Must he search all those worlds again? he thought. He was so tired.
He sat down and buried his face in his hands. When he raised his head again, he looked around blankly for a moment and snatched up one of the sheets of paper with a gasp. He recognized Hiwatari-kun's style, from the few times Hiwatari-kun had drawn something in class. He got up and looked around, unable to believe what he saw.
Drawings and paintings everywhere; stacked carelessly on the ground and leaning against each other. Every one had slashes cut into it from a knife.
He'd destroyed them, Daisuke realized. Everything Hiwatari-kun had created, he'd destroyed himself. The damage was systematic, almost careful. He took a step and felt paper crunching under his feet. He looked down.
Sketches of him, everywhere, in pencil and ink and color, like studies for a portrait. Himself, laughing, smiling, angry, sad, running and sitting and standing. Over every sheet, in heavy black ink, rage and despair in every stroke:
THIS IS NOT ENOUGH.
The kagome pattern is real, it's sort of a six-pointed star pattern used in weaving baskets. The red feather pattern, as far as I know, is not -- it's another pun on Daisuke's last name. If it WAS real, it would be a stylized feather pattern dyed in rust-red.
Since it isn't going to come up in the fic itself -- Kosuke and Emiko got the boys home, and told a lot of lies about how they went to pick Daisuke up from his friend's house, smelled gas outside, went to investigate, and found Hiwatari Sr trying to pull the boys to safety but so dazed himself he'd let them knock against a corner and got blood on them. They pulled the boys out with Hiwatari Sr following behind them. Except then when they were slightly less busy dealing with the boys they looked over and saw Hiwatari Sr staggering toward the cliff -- you remember the cliff? -- and before they could do anything he'd fallen over and into the sea. Ooops? Also, Emiko knows a lot of things that people would really rather have her not mention, /ever/, so they accepted the story and let them take the boys home. Towa-chan got rid of their bloody shoes and brought them new ones. Again, this is totally due to White Aster being much smarter than I am. LOVE!