Categories > Anime/Manga > D.N.Angel

Step by Step

by Macx_Larabee 0 reviews

part of the Balance series, set after Distortion. Satoshi's down with a handicap, feeling like an invalid, and there is a rather unlikely helper. Fluffy demon moments ahead. See disclaimer! Complet...

Category: D.N.Angel - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Krad, Satoshi - Published: 2006-11-05 - Updated: 2006-11-05 - 3114 words - Complete

Step by Step Step by Step
by: Macx

Satoshi muttered angrily to himself as he banged around the kitchen, trying to make himself a sandwich with one arm in a cast and trapped in a sling that should theoretically keep him from moving it too much. Showering had been a menace to his health already and he had nearly dissolved the cast, even though he had wrapped a small trash bag around the offensive addition to his arm. Now, hair wet and a tangled mess, dressed in wide sweats, he glared at the slices of toast, trying to intimidate them into obedience.
They weren't impressed.
It had been a stupid accident.
A very stupid one.
He had gone skiing with Daisuke and on the second day some idiot beginner had run into them, toppling both over and landing on Satoshi's wrist - which had taken that particular move unkindly. He, the former Commander in Chief, someone trained from an early age on to know how to jump and fall, had ended up with the worst injuries of the lot. He still remembered that training and Satoshi knew that without it he would have been off quite badly. As it was, Daisuke had only been bruised. Lucky him.
Satoshi couldn't say the same for him. His lower arm was broken, the wrist badly sprained, and he had bruises the size of a football everywhere.
The toast proved to be stubborn and Satoshi finally growled a curse and flung the whole thing into the sink. He didn't feel hungry any more.
Just frustrated.
Very, very frustrated.
Daisuke had come home with him, only to have his professor call him in for an important seminar or something to the like. So Satoshi was alone, left with one useless arm, and he could barely dress himself.
"Shit," he muttered.
Maybe he should order out.
Or go out.
No, wait. Going out meant making a fool out of himself in a restaurant. Not a good idea.
Sinking against the kitchen island he sighed deeply. At least the coffee machine was manageable without having two functioning hands. And the coffee tasted okay.
There was a slight shift in the back of his mind and he was suddenly aware of his demon's presence so close by. Krad had been very silent in the last two days since they had come back. His worry about his Tamer had been quite palpable while Satoshi had been in the emergency unit, but Satoshi had pushed him back, trying to deal with the pain himself.
He hadn't really listened to Krad in those hour, and later he had been busy feeling shitty, sorry at himself, and furious at the bad luck that Daisuke had to leave him now.
You're such a child, Satoshi/, he thought angrily. /Why don't you act your age?!
--Sato?-- Krad asked carefully.
--What?-- he snapped, turning his full fury at the next available target.
Krad winced away, moving back like a beaten puppy. Satoshi stopped and inhaled deeply, trying to get his raging emotions under control.
I am childish/, he repeated. I act like a spoiled brat because of such a minor hindrance.../
Ten years ago that would never have happened. He would have kept his emotions bottled up, never shown his feelings to anyone, let alone his hurt and pain, and things would have been... under control. But Hikari Satoshi had changed. Daisuke had changed him, the whole Niwa family... and he had turned into the man he was today. He liked the changes, but right now he would have loved to get a sliver of control because he was hurting someone who hadn't had anything to do with it.
--Krad, I... sorry-- he murmured, running his good hand through his damp hair.
Damn. Knots. And he couldn't even brush it properly.
The demon didn't reply, just lingered at the edge of his perception, cautious, almost fearful.
Of course he would be, Satoshi told himself angrily. Krad's experience with his family was abysmal and he wasn't the psychotic maniac Satoshi had believed him to be. He was as traumatized as Satoshi had been. The anger multiplied.
Krad curled up and Satoshi groaned.
No, no, no!
--Krad!-- He reached for the blond. --I didn't mean you. I'm not angry at you!--
Krad hovered hesitantly. It had been only a few months since he had been freed and too much had happened. He had been severely injured, body and soul, and Satoshi hadn't been helpful at first. They were still working on their partnership and while it was leagues better than before, Krad was still cautious, almost wary, and it pained Satoshi to see him like this.
Lashing out at him hadn't helped now.
Reaching for the pale amber light that represented the demon, Satoshi stroked over it, glad when Krad let him.
--Sorry-- he apologized. --I'm sorry. I'm just a bit... ill-tempered--
He waited. Krad moved a little and reached for him. Satoshi let him, holding his breath.
Gods, he would never have believed that this being would be so careful, so wary, would not overrun him, force himself on his body. In the past, Krad had meant pain. His very thoughts had been like daggers in his mind.
Satoshi shifted a little and his arm twinged. He bit his lip and cursed the injury. A new pulse of pain answered and he rode out the wave.
Damn, he should take some painkillers.
--Satoshi?-- Krad questioned, voice filled with worry.
--I'm okay-- he murmured, feeling tired.
There was another shift, this time a bit more pronounced, and suddenly he looked at the winged being. Krad had separated and was now gazing at him with a guarded expression.
He looked almost like he had so many years ago. The long, blond and pony-tailed hair, the golden, feline eyes... but he had stopped wearing his white coat, the gloves and everything else associated with the Krad of before. He still preferred light colored clothes, but the style was different.
"You are not," he said quietly. "You are in pain. You should take your medication."
Oh yes, that. Satoshi hated to feel so stuffy in the head, but the pain in his arm was multiplying. He had actually ignored it in his anger, fed the fury with the pain signals. Looking at Krad he saw the plain worry there, coupled with such reservation and... fear?
Krad did trust him, no doubt about it, but the past would never let him go. A past that had started before Hikari Satoshi, a past that had been painful and that had been laid open to Satoshi in the most horrible way. He knew everything about his family's treatment of the magical being, how Krad had become who he was, who he had been. Now he reacted skittishly to Satoshi lashing out at him, afraid that his current host would turn against him.
You opened up and made yourself vulnerable. I won't abuse that trust, Krad. Never.
"I'm not angry at you, Krad. I'm sorry if it came across wrong. I'm just angry at my stupidity. I went years in the most dangerous of situations without breaking anything... and now it's an idiotic accident. I'm sorry for pushing you away."
There was an odd expression on those feline eyes.
"You were hurt before."
He blinked. "Huh?"
"Because of me. Dark broke your ribs once. He hit me, but he broke your ribs."
"Oh." Satoshi remembered that incident, but he didn't blame him for that any more. He understood so much more now. "Krad... listen... I'm just not in a good mood because of all things culminating lately. This isn't about you or me, or us. It's about me feeling stupid and lonely and sorry for myself. I had planned this to be a nice weekend with Daisuke and look where it got me. Into the emergency room, home alone, and Daisuke was called away."
Krad reached out and touched the white cast, running careful fingers over it. Satoshi caught the hand and gave him a little smile.
"Sorry for not talking to you, for shutting you out in that hospital."
"You were in pain. I understand that."
Oh yes, Krad understood pain. And Satoshi finally knew just how well. Krad's soul had survived the most horrifying torture, jaded and damaged, but still more sane than anyone could have ever hoped him to be. Satoshi knew he might never heal all that damage inflicted by his family, but he had sworn to himself not to be like them.
"Not any pain you caused," he said softly.
Krad's wings trembled a little. Satoshi wondered what was going on in that handsome head. He had always thought Krad to be an arrogant, sadistic, coldly calculating being, but he had been shown a fragile, vulnerable and very damaged soul underneath that nightmarish shell of his childhood monster.
It was that moment his stomach chose to grumble.
He sighed.
Oh great. Maybe he could find the menu from the pizza place and order some, he sighed. He could do pizza with one hand - hopefully.
A frown passed over his features.
Then again...
Krad smiled a little and tilted his head. "I can make you a sandwich if you want to. Or soup. Or something else."
"I can do it," Satoshi immediately rallied to defend his dignity at being an invalid.
Krad gave the mess in the sink a pointed look. "Ye-es... I can see that in the results. The first one didn't survive."
Satoshi glared. To his secret delight the smile grew. There was even a twinkle in the golden depths. Krad had slowly learned to tease gently and Satoshi felt proud like a father sometimes.
"Okay, okay. You can make a sandwich."
"And you take the painkillers. Please?"
Satoshi walked into the living room and took the small bottle, getting the two prescribed pills out of it. He swallowed them with water and was about to go back into the kitchen when a wing blocked his way.
"Sit," Krad only ordered.
"I'm not an invalid!"
"You are, Satoshi. I'll make you lunch, you sit down."
He sighed. As much as Krad was unsure sometimes, he could be firm in his protectiveness.
He simply accepted the order and made himself comfortable on the couch. He had to confess he was hurting all over and sitting down helped a lot.
Ten minutes later Krad walked in with the promised sandwich. His wings had disappeared and Satoshi found it comforted him to know that Krad thought the situation 'safe' enough to keep them inside. There was a 'no wings inside the house' policy, but so far Krad hadn't spent much time outside. It had always been Dark. Satoshi had noticed that whenever Krad felt relaxed enough, the wings wouldn't be there on those rare occasions he was outside.
The sandwich was surprisingly good and Satoshi found he was very hungry.
And tired.
Damn painkillers.
It took them only half a sandwich to kick in and turn him into mental goo. He still ate the whole thing, but by the time he finished the tea that Krad had brought, he felt like he could sleep a week.
"I hate this," he muttered.
A hand touched him, stroked gently over his hair, and he looked into the golden eyes of his demon. The fingers undid a few tangles and he sighed. His hair was a mess, just like the rest of him. Krad's moves were reassuring, slow, painless, and a few of the knots dissolved. Satoshi let himself enjoy the soothing motion, the massage.
"Follow your body," Krad said calmly. "You need to heal and sleeping helps."
Satoshi sighed and leaned against the solid form next to him, seeking more comfort. There was a brief moment in which Krad tensed, then he was enveloped in a strong, warm embrace.
No, he would never have thought to call Krad's touch comforting, warm or reassuring in the past, but that was what it was. He trusted the demon; completely. Enough to fall asleep in his arms. Enough to leave himself open.
Satoshi felt a gentle caress, heard a soft voice, then exhaustion claimed him as the medication hit home.

Krad looked at the sleeping body in his arms, marveling at the feeling, the wonderful sensation of having Satoshi there with him. No fear, no pain, no threats, no coldness. His host, his Tamer, his... friend. Trusting him in his sleep, no walls keeping him out...
He ran a caressing hand over the long strands and smiled.
This is what you had all the time, Dark/, he thought. /This is what I wanted, what I so badly craved, and I approached it the wrong way. I forced myself on you, Sato. I apologize.
I'll make it up.
In our future.
He smiled more. It sounded so good, to have a future.
Satoshi moved and a little flash of pain crossed his features. Krad took the injured arm and gently placed it in a more comfortable position. He had been scared to have his host injured like this, to have him in pain, and he had been unable to do anything. There had been no enemy to fight. It had been a plain accident.
In a few weeks the cast would be off and until then he planned on taking care of his Satoshi.
Krad's fingers trailed over one prominent cheek bone. The possessive term was no longer so negative. Satoshi had used it on him, too. He had claimed him.
I am yours/, he confessed with a comfortable feeling of belonging. /Always.
It was an hour into Satoshi's sleep that the phone rang and Krad reached for the mobile unit that was lying on the couch table.
"Krad?" Daisuke blurted, surprise in his voice.
"Yes. Satoshi is asleep at the moment."
"Uh, okay. How is he?"
Feline eyes looked at the peacefully resting young man and he smiled. "A bit frustrated about his handicap."
A snort of laughter. "Probably more like 'a lot frustrated' and a pain in the ass."
Krad chuckled. "Probably."
"Well, tell him hi from me, to rest up, take it easy, and stop worrying about the weekend. There'll be plenty more."
Krad felt amazed at how perceptive Daisuke was. "I will," he promised.
"You both just kick back and relax. Oh, Dark says hello and way to go that you're outside." There was a broad smile audible in Niwa's voice. "Anyway, gotta go. I'll call again later!"
Krad clicked off the portable and laid it back onto the table. One hand still caressed the dark blond strands of his host while his mind whirled around the wonder and changes in his life. He still needed to actively make himself understand that what had been was truly in the past now. Satoshi accepted him, wanted him, maybe even needed him, and Daisuke and Krad accepted him just the same.
So surreal.
So... magical.
Satoshi made a sleepy noise but didn't wake.
Krad leaned back and enjoyed the moment.
Satoshi felt like an imbecile. Aside from being unable to shower like a normal human being he was also more like a toddler when it came to dressing, and tying his shoe-laces was a no go. The concrete block that was his right arm wouldn't let him. Not to mention combing his hair. A lot of things were a no go.
But he had help.
Like right now.
Careful, gentle fingers combed through his hair, untangling it from the untidy mess it had been in when he had woken in his bed. Satoshi couldn't remember going to bed, though he could remember dozing off on the couch - with Krad at his side. Apparently the demon had brought him to bed. And now he was combing the dark blond strands, finally tying them in Satoshi's usual pony tail.
"Thanks," Satoshi said quietly.
Krad stepped back, smiling a little. "You're welcome."
"I feel so... useless like this. I can't even type!" Satoshi groused, feeling the prior frustration rise again.
Warm hands rested on his shoulders and Krad squeezed the tight muscles gently. "You're not useless, Satoshi. You never were and never will be. Just give your bones time to mend."
"I have so much work...!"
"Let me help?"
He was stunned by the offer.
Krad looked at him, silent, waiting.
"Uh, sure," he muttered. "I..." Satoshi was still too shocked about the offer to think of what Krad might help him with - despite the fact that it was almost everything.
In the end they started with something as mundane as doing the dishes and the laundry. It sounded laughable to have a magical, demonic being do chores, but Satoshi was too amazed to think about it.

By the end of the second day Krad was fluent in computer lingo, at least when it came to the multitude of Satoshi's programs, and he had helped his host cobble together a voice-activated program with a headset that allowed Satoshi to answer his emails by voice only.
Satoshi was proud. Of himself, of Krad, of their achievements. And of the developing understanding between them. Sure, Krad had been inside him, they had talked and touched, but having him physically there improved a lot of things, like their interaction. It also helped Satoshi to accept the tall, blond figure who he had only ever seen as a demon.
Krad was a demon, sure. Sato's reaction to the sight of him had been predictable at first - like throughout childhood. His heart had sped up, his stomach had clenched and he had felt his lungs freeze. He was getting better, though. By now he didn't mind Krad separating, walking around and being in his view. Yes, he was a demon. His demon. And he was an angel by looks. He was also gentle, loving, careful, and he was fun. Strange but true. He had humor, he could tease, though with a cautious note to it just in case he stepped across some unseen boundary, and Satoshi found he liked this version of his symbiote a lot.
No, not this version. He was the same as before. Krad had never been anyone but who he still was. He just now had reached an understanding with a lot of aspects in his life. He had a host who accepted him, loved him, wanted him.
Looking at the slender figure currently logging new books and checking the palm top for inconsistencies, Satoshi had to smile more.
He had thought his life to be forever changed by the reappearance of Dark and Krad, and it had changed. But not for the worse.
Not for the worse at all...

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