Categories > Anime/Manga > D.N.Angel


by Macx_Larabee 0 reviews

part of the Balance series, sequel to Distortion. The Hikari can create beautiful art. Satoshi is a Hikari... and he does. Just once. And things turn sour between Dark and Krad. --complete!--

Category: D.N.Angel - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst - Characters: Daisuke, Dark, Krad, Satoshi - Published: 2006-11-05 - Updated: 2006-11-05 - 9193 words - Complete

Unity Unity
by Macx and Lara Bee

WARNINGS: uhm... fluffy demon moments maybe?

It was a work of art. Simple but yet complex, roughly sketched and still detailed. An expression of talent, love and soul, molded into a shape of two figures. Clay had given them a permanent position, their naked bodies entwined as they stood together, their arms enfolding the partner in a gentle embrace. The faces were neutral, without a specific expression, shape or mimicry. There was no form of identity. Their muscular bodies spoke of grace and eternal beauty, male and powerful. Hands touched the other body, caressed it, explored it, and on each figure's back a pair of large wings completed the picture. The wings were the most detailed parts, each feather scratched into the still soft clay, then colored with loving care.
One pair black as night, with a dark blue shine to them.
The other an ethereal white with silvery accents.
Hikari Satoshi sat in the attic of his townhouse, looking at the figures, blue eyes holding a far away expression. It was finally done. The very first piece of art created by him, and the last.
He knew the dangers that lurked inside this simple piece. He knew it wasn't meant to be.
Still... he had done it. Despite the knowledge, despite the fate of this almost amateurish attempt to give shape to the love he felt.
/It's beautiful/ a voice whispered inside him.
It was warm, loving, tender. It enveloped him like a blanket and the presence inside of him moved, coming closer. Satoshi didn't react to Krad's approach. He just sat and stared.
/You have a talent/
"I am a Hikari," he finally murmured and disgust rose in his tone. "It is what we do, what we did... and what was our curse."
Krad sighed silently and wrapped himself around his host's presence in their shared mind.
"And I know what has to be done."
"Can you seal it?"
There was a moment of absolute silence. /I... Satoshi? Are you sure?/
"Yes, I am. I know what this thing is, aside from an amateurish, childish creation. It's a vessel of emotions, of soul and love and spirit. It will be nothing but a source of danger for us. It's a Hikari. We have to seal it. Can you do it?" he demanded again.
/Yes, I can/ was the quiet reply. /And it's neither childish nor amateurish, Satoshi. It's wonderful/
Satoshi smiled derisively. "It has to go. Do it, Krad. Please."
The demon sighed and nodded. Satoshi stepped back, surrendering his body to the entity inside him. Krad surfaced without much fuss, completely painlessly for his host, and golden, feline eyes gazed at the figurine. Slender fingers brushed over the black wings, feeling each feather under their touch.
Finally he drew a white feather, closed his eyes for a moment, and charged it. Golden energy filled the feather, made it glow, and he murmured a soft incantation. While he had never sealed artwork like Dark had, he knew just as much about it. He knew how to take care of the danger lurking deep inside.
Flinging the feather at the two winged figures, he watched the sealing energy dissolve, envelop Satoshi's piece of art, and forever seal the power inside it.
The figure had lived less than an hour.
Krad felt a pang of regret, of guilt, but he knew that the danger had been too great. All Hikari art was highly dangerous. Satoshi, while not a master artist, had the power like all his ancestors before him. This particular piece would have gathered soul and love, it would have grown, and maybe one day it would have become what the Black Wings had been.
/Thank you/ Satoshi whispered inside him.
Krad didn't answer. He just drew a white cover over the now very innocent figure.
/Could we...? I mean... I'd like to leave here/
He smiled sadly, picking up on his host's mood. /Of course/
Wings exploded out of his back as Krad stepped out onto the balcony and looked into the sky. The pristine white wings spread wide and they were airborne not much later. Satoshi lay back and enjoyed the freedom of the flight as Krad chose their direction and heading.
The sun was about to set and in a few more hours it would be dark. Satoshi didn't care. He sat on the hill overlooking the town, gazing at the hundreds of homes, taking in the serene beauty. This was where Daisuke had grown up, had lived all his life, where all the good and the bad memories resided. This was where he, Hikari Satoshi, had been sent to get close to the Niwa boy. This was where he had found more than just a target. He had found a friend, he had found a lover, and he had found a home.
He liked this quaint little coastal town. He liked being here. It was his home, too. He had never had one before.
"Will you show him?"
The soft, dark voice disturbed his thoughts and he glanced at his only companion in this lonely place. Krad had separated from him after they had landed, as if he had wanted to give him the complete privacy only this separation could guarantee. In a way Satoshi was grateful.
Now he met the inquiring golden eyes, so different from the eyes that had watched him for most of his childhood, the eyes of a demon. These were now full of concern, warmth and emotions that Krad had to get used to as well, most likely. He cared, he loved Satoshi, and Hikari had finally come to understand the true meaning behind the words uttered so often before.
"No," he answered.
Krad's face showed confusion. "Why? You did it for him, Satoshi."
"Yes, which is why it's such a dangerous creation. It was my foray into the world of art. My first and my last one." He tore his eyes away from his partner. "Niwa is the artist. I'm not."
"You are. All Hikari were artists, one way or the other. You have the talent."
"No, I have the curse. What we created was evil... filled with dangerous powers."
"No, not everything. The Eternal Mark... Towa... she isn't evil."
Satoshi smiled dimly. "One exception."
"You are not cursed, Hikari Satoshi. Like all of your clan, it's up to you what you do with your talent," Krad told him calmly. "You have power. You have a beautiful spirit and soul. Your love is your strength. Don't deny Daisuke this look into your soul."
Satoshi buried his head in his arms. "He can't know."
"But you did it for him," the demon argued again.
"Which is why the damned thing would have grown into a freaking danger!" the young man hissed, eyes snapping up to glare at the other. "What we create is always potentially dangerous! Because I did it with all my heart and soul, it would have been like... the Black Wings!"
Krad winced and Satoshi sneered.
"Right?" he demanded. "The first Hikari did the same! He created something out of love for someone, for a Niwa! He created the Black Wings and look what happened!"
Krad closed his eyes, the wings trembling a little. Finally he looked up, staring into the distant sky. "Love isn't wrong," he whispered.
"No, but it's a deadly weapon when in the wrong hands!"
"Satoshi... my first host... he loved unconditionally. He loved his thief. There was no chance for them ever being together, but he loved him," the demon went on, voice soft. "I felt that emotion after the fatal accident at the sealing. I felt his undying love. It wasn't wrong. The Black Wings was powerful, but it had its beauty and its... gentleness. Without the accident at the ritual, this would never have happened. Satoshi... I sealed your own artwork; it's safe. You can show it to Daisuke and you know he would understand."
Golden eyes met blue ones and Satoshi shook his head in denial. "No, Krad. Never. Promise me you won't tell him either!"
"Swear it!"
Krad nodded slowly. "I swear. I won't tell him."
"And Dark!"
"You have my word."
Satoshi held the feline gaze for a moment longer, then nodded. He felt exhausted, mentally as well as physically. He had poured everything, his emotions, his soul, into the creation of the offending piece of art. It had been his way of dealing with the events as of late. No one was to blame, least of all Krad. Daisuke painted when he wanted to distract himself, clear his head, but Satoshi had never done anything of the likes. He would go into the virtual world of computers, of technology. This time... had been different.
Wings rustled, unfolded, and he found himself in a warm, soft embrace of white feathers all of a sudden. Satoshi didn't care as he sank into the offered comfort, felt Krad's gentle caress. He closed his eyes, despair and anger and sadness flowing together. Tender fingers stroked over his hair and he forced himself to relax.
He was a Hikari.
What he created would be cursed.
He had fallen asleep in his embrace. Krad looked at his host in wonder and with a tender smile, one wing curled protectively around the slender form. It was getting colder now that the sun had almost set, but Satoshi was a warm weight against him, solid and real. It was amazing to feel him like this, not just as a presence in his mind.
You do beautiful things, Satoshi, he thought. You are an artist. I know you're scared of your heritage, but so was I. I was scared of myself and sometimes I still am.
The demon knew that the decision to seal the unnamed figurine had been the right one, but it had hurt to watch Satoshi, to see his work of love be destroyed without ever having truly lived.
You're so much like the first Satoshi, my first host. There is an innocence inside you, a beauty and radiance, your stepfather and your clan couldn't destroy.
It was what had attracted Krad to this particular host. Daisuke brought it out even more, his energy and strength. Krad smiled a little and gently brushed over the light brown hair.
You should show it to him one day. He deserves to see it.

In the end he decided to take Satoshi home. Like Dark, Krad could take over a sleeping body if the host trusted him, and Satoshi did now. He merged with the young man, took over, and they flew silently and swiftly back to the house where he surrendered control once more.
Satoshi just slept on, now on the bed, and Krad went into the attic, gazing at the sealed piece of art. He touched it reverently, then pulled his fingers away, curling them into a fist.
He had to stow this somewhere. Somewhere safe and away from here.
The next two months were a flurry of activities and changes. Daisuke flew to Prague again since his old teacher had made it possible for the young man to repeat his studies. Daisuke didn't lose much time with preparations. He packed lightly since he had been to Prague before, and he knew what to take. Some of his stuff was still there. He had some convincing to do when it came to Satoshi, though. He wanted his lover to come along, to be there with him, and finally Hikari said yes. He would come for four weeks, then fly home.
It was a compromise.
The four weeks were over in a flash and Daisuke asked him to reconsider his decision, but Satoshi was firm. He would go home.
"It's not like before," he told his lover at the last evening they spent together, walking the streets, enjoying the autumn air. "I'll be fine."
And he was fine. Krad's presence was no longer feared and hated. It was a co-existence, even if the demon was sometimes very quiet and laid back. Unlike his prior possession, Krad was holding himself back, letting Satoshi lead, and the young man was very much at ease around his old nightmare. He trusted him. Enough to let his guards down, to sleep deeply, and to let himself fall into the strong, reassuring embrace in his mind.
He didn't lose a word about the artwork, the single piece of creative expression he had given life. Neither did Krad.

Daisuke's return home was a day to celebrate and while he was severely jet-lagged, he was also in good spirits. Emiko and Kosuke were at the airport with Satoshi, greeting their son, and Daisuke talked about nothing but Prague and the museums and all the art for hours, until exhaustion hit him.
Satoshi looked down at his lover, smiling gently, brushing long bangs of dark hair out of his eyes. It was so good to have him back.
/You missed him/ Krad's low voice whispered.
/Yes, I did. Four weeks and it felt like four years. What does that say about me?/
/You love him very much/ the entity answered simply, smiling.
Satoshi was stunned, then just sank into the mattress, Daisuke at his side. Yes, he loved him. He loved with all his heart and soul and strength. He had missed the warmth at his side, the smile, the shining eyes. He had missed Daisuke in his life, in their home, everywhere.
Shit, I'm so dependent on him.
/Which isn't bad/ Krad murmured. /Love is never bad/
He turned to look at his demon, intrigued by the emotions he picked up. Neither said anything and Satoshi finally smiled, snuggling closer to the muscular form at his side, slipping off into sleep.
Krad watched as he settled back, casting a contemplative look at the connection he had with Dark, then decided against it.
It was two days after Daisuke's return home and both Dark and Krad had decided to separate from their hosts' bodies to give the two men some privacy. While Dark liked the positive flood of emotions from the actual love-making, he also enjoyed a few hours alone. He could have that solitude when he walled himself off from Daisuke's mind, but the two had discovered that, like Krad, he could leave his host. Unless he depleted his energy with magic, he could last outside for a long while.
And Dark had grown adventurous, much to Daisuke's growing headache in the beginning. Dark had lost nothing of his spirit, his dare-devil attitude and devil-may-care behavior. He was open for anything and anyone, and keeping him in check was a piece of hard work. He enjoyed himself way too much and he tried to pull Krad along, which was rarely effective. Of the two of them, Krad showed a lot more responsibility and thoughtfulness. And maturity.
"Balance," Satoshi had one remarked. "They need each other."
At the moment, neither was needed with their respective host, and Dark had taken the chance to make plans for a day out and about, dragging Krad along.
"I had plans," the demon groused, glaring at his other half.
"Sitting in some old, boring library and reading?" Dark teased.
"Education would do you a world of good, kaitou," came the snapped reply.
"Ouch. You're in a good mood. Lighten up, okay? They want to have some fun alone and be at it like starved bunnies. We do the same."
Krad's face was priceless. "What?!"
Dark grinned cheekily. "We'll have fun. Now come on."
So Krad went. Reluctantly, with a sour face, but he followed his other half through the streets and alleys, shades hiding his inhuman eyes. They ended up in one particular street, in front of one particular house.
"I'm not sure I'm welcome here."
Dark sighed and looked at the Niwa home. He liked dropping by once in a while. Niwa Daikii had been his host a long time ago and talking to him now was like talking to an old friend. They had been one for quite a while. Emiko was always fussing over him, which Dark secretly enjoyed, and though he would deny it, he thought of her as an older sister... close to a mother-figure. He liked being around her. It gave him a warm feeling.
Krad on the other hand was his antithesis and while Emiko had accepted him, the demon felt unwell in the home of his former enemy clan.
"I just wanna say hello to Daikii and Emiko, okay? I mean, you can stay out here and wait..."
Krad frowned, then nodded. "That's exactly what I'll do. I wonder why I went along anyway."
"Because, my dear Krad, there is a whole world out there that we never experienced. It's about damn time."
Dark rung the bell and waited. It was Emiko who opened and she smiled widely at him.
"Dark! What are you doing here?"
"Was in the area. Daisuke gave me some time off, so to speak." He grinned.
"Perfect timing, dear. I think I could need your help."
Dark tilted his head. "What for?"
She smiled and was about to answer when her eyes fell on the solitary figure on the other side of the street, standing a few houses away, eyes closed, face tilted toward the sun. Dark followed her gaze and opened his mouth to say something when Emiko touched his chest in a silencing gesture. She left the house and walked up to the tall blond whose only resemblance with the Krad she had seen before were the feline eyes and the long, blond hair. Now those golden eyes met dark brown ones and she held the neutral gaze. Finally Emiko smiled and nodded invitingly at the open door.
Krad's expression changed. He blinked a little, strangely unsure, and her smile grew warmer.
"You're welcome," she said softly.
With that she turned and walked back to where Dark had been watching, rooted to the spot, fascinated by the small exchange. Krad followed her, looking reluctant, confused, and Dark smiled with the same warmth Emiko had used.
"Told you," he murmured only loud enough for his other half to hear.
It got him a dark look.
Once inside it became clear pretty fast that what Emiko needed was more than just a favor. She was cleaning out the basement, the huge underground construction that housed countless stolen art.
"It needs to be sorted. No one's done anything but pile it everywhere since you started, Dark," she explained as they descended the old stone steps.
Dark couldn't deny the smaller woman the request. He just shot his counterpart a quizzical look, got a barely perceptible grimace in return, and then they set to work.
Krad's golden gaze swept over the stacks and shelves full of art. "You've been busy," he remarked.
Dark shrugged, but he was kind of taken by the display. He had rarely spent a lot of time down here. He knew he had acquired a lot, but to see the size and numbers... it was breathtaking, awe-inspiring and filling with him pride. A silly, childish pride.
"Yeah," he murmured. "Never figured there to be so many."
"Three hundred years are a long time to collect things," the demon told him. "You rarely failed."
Dark shot him a mock annoyed look. "I never failed. I always got what I wanted."
Krad grinned. "Of course. You are the famous kaitou Dark after all."
"Yep, that's me."
"Not that it ever impressed me."
Dark chuckled. "I wasn't trying to impress you. I was trying to impress the girls."
"Doesn't make any difference. You didn't get them either."
Dark gave him an odd look, then quickly turned for the next piece of art, a figure of a winged horse caught in mid-flight. For just a moment he had felt something, something strange. He pushed the feeling away and handed the horse to Krad to carry upstairs for Emiko to clean and sort out.
He reached for the next piece, which was hidden inside a crate. The kaitou frowned at the bland packaging, wondering why Emiko hadn't put this piece on display like everything else. She was immensely proud of her collection and of everything Dark had ever stolen. It was a regular museum down here and contained some of the most priceless pieces of Hikari and other art in the country, maybe even the world.
Curious, he opened it.
He gaped.
It was... beautiful.
Two male figures, without features, winged, embracing each other. A pair of black wings, a pair of white wings...
"What the...?" he murmured and reached for the figurine.
The moment his fingers touched the surface, a prickle coursed through him. The seal reacted to his own magic and the surprise turned into shock.
Not his own seal.
Not his own magic.
"Krad," he hissed.
But why would his other half seal a piece of art? It was a Hikari, that he saw right away and... Dark frowned more, feeling confusion double... it was recent! Shit, that thing wasn't older than a few months at all!
Steps behind him announced the arrival of the other 'helper' and Dark turned around.
"Krad," he said, voice holding a tightly controlled note.
The demon noticed it because his eyes narrowed a little and he tensed. "Yes?"
"Care to explain this?" Dark gestured at the open crate.
Krad's reaction was rather... surprising. His face lost all color and his eyes went wide. Shock, guilt and something else flashed over the handsome features, then those golden feline eyes met Dark's violet ones.
"You sealed that thing," Dark only said. "Don't try to deny it."
"I won't."
"When, where and why?"
Krad curled his hands briefly into fists. "I can't tell you, Dark."
"What?! This is a piece of Hikari art, a new piece! It's not some of the old stuff! You had to have sealed it just after its creation and..." Dark trailed off, realization hitting him like a ton of bricks. "Satoshi!"
Demon eyes flared, but before Krad could reply, Emiko's voice reached them.
"Boys, I'm done with the rest. Could you bring up the next load?"
"Sure!" Dark yelled back, never taking his eyes off the blond demon. "Later," he whispered only loud enough for Krad to hear.
The other just nodded. "Later," he murmured.
They left the Niwa home around dusk, both silent, walking. It would have been easy to fly, but in a way Dark needed the time to think.
Recent Hikari art. Created by Satoshi, no less.
Krad had sealed it.
What had they been thinking? Satoshi should know better! Hell, Krad should know better!
They passed people who didn't give them a second look, except the women, who appreciated both men's looks. Krad ignored them completely and Dark flirted with some of them, giving them charming smiles.
"Do you have to do that?" the demon muttered under his breath.
Golden eyes glared at him and Krad suddenly materialized his wings. They were at one of the look-outs and thankfully completely alone. Without another word, the other lifted off. Dark shot him a baleful look and followed.
They came home to an empty house. Daisuke and Satoshi had apparently managed to get out of bed and out of the house. A small note announced that they were having dinner somewhere.
Good. At least this gave Dark the necessary time to ask about the winged figurine.
"We talk," he told his counterpart, crumbling the note into a little ball. "Now."
"Satoshi made the figurine," Krad only said.
"I figured that out already!"
There was mild disapproval in Krad's eyes. "It was his way with dealing with the events as of late. A way to express his love."
"Damn, you and I know what happens with these kinds of artworks! He is a Hikari, Krad! What he creates, out of love, hate or whatever emotion, is potentially dangerous!"
"Which is why I sealed it."
"It shouldn't ever have come to creation!" Dark shouted.
Golden eyes narrowed dangerously. "What do you suggest? I take over my host, force him to stop, control his every move and thought?" the demon shot back.
Dark blinked, shocked. "No..." he replied after a second. "No, of course not!"
"I sat and watched him pour everything he is, everything he feels, into this. It's the first time he created and he did it for Daisuke. I sealed it at his request. Satoshi knew it was dangerous."
"You know what this kind of love does! It created the Black Wings, the most dangerous and powerful work of art ever to come to life! This could have been the same!" Dark argued heatedly. "What if the sealing had gone wrong?"
"It didn't. Only because you are the expert doesn't mean I can't do the job!" Krad snarled, anger now clearly visible in his eyes.
"It should never have been created," Dark murmured.
The next moment he found himself slammed against the wall, nose to nose with one furious demon whose eyes were now glowing. Powerful fingers dug into the flesh of his shoulders and Dark was briefly thankful that Krad had no claws. Still, the grip was painful and he gritted his teeth.
"Just like the Black Wings," Krad whispered harshly. "Just like we. But we do exist. Co-exist. We are a curse. I know that, Dark Mousy, I know that very well. I know what can happen and I took care of it. You think you can do it better? Be my guest and reseal it, but don't blame me when it backfires!"
Dark pushed him away, slightly shaken. His defenses were up, his instinct was screaming at him to take this down a notch, but another part just wanted to lay into Krad and tear him apart.
"Satoshi is playing with fire!" he growled. "He is a Hikari!"
"I know that, Dark! He knows that! Do you think either of us can forget it? It's what forced us together and what still is our curse!"
"So he does something idiotic as that?!"
Krad snarled and slammed him against the wall again, teeth bared, eyes narrow slits. Magic prickled around him and Dark felt his own rise in response.
"He loves your host, kaitou. He loves him deeply and unconditionally. Sato has gone through hell lately and I know it was mainly because of me, but he can still love and feel and be... he can live! I won't deny him this life - ever!"
"And you'd let him knowingly create such a powerful weapon?"
"No, I let him express himself the only way he could, and I sealed the thing for the future to come. I cut off its life before it was ever born. Maybe it should have been done to us as well!" Krad pushed away, bristling more. "Maybe we should be sealed as well! Maybe our miserable existence should be ended! We are nothing but a Hikari artwork after all!"
He turned and walked away, radiating barely contained power.
Dark stared after him, fury still prominent in his eyes. "Yeah, maybe someone should seal you for good, Krad!" he yelled without thinking.
He saw it coming. It was fast, furious and deadly. Magic lanced at him and Dark brought up a shield, simultaneously striking out at his former enemy. Krad countered, landing a heavy blow against Dark's midriff, but not without accepting a similar, magic-filled strike that cracked against his shoulder.
Dark wheezed, hunched over, wide, violet eyes looking at his opponent. Krad's expression flickered with betrayal, hurt and pain, then it turned into the maniacal, almost insane one that had made up the old Krad.
"You want to end it, Dark?" he whispered harshly. "Then do so. Don't hold back."
He spread his arms wide.
"Kill me. Let it be over once and for all. Save us. Maybe it's time to find a means to end this torment. It would be the solution to a lot of problems."
Dark was breathing hard, magic churning through his system, leeching at his energy reserves, and he longed to snap out his wings, take to the sky and clear this once and for all as Krad wanted it. Instead, he reined in his temper, locked it away, and looked at his other half. Blond hair moved in the magical waves they both emitted, golden eyes were slits of barely contained disgust and loathing, coupled with an ancient pain. Hands were curled in readiness to gather magic and defend himself.
When Dark didn't do anything but continue to stare, Krad finally turned on his heels and left. The door slammed after him, cutting off the white-golden radiance of magic.
Dark sank down the wall, shocked.
"What just happened?" he whispered, his voice sounding hollow in the empty room.
He had struck out at Krad, verbally as well as physically, hitting all the right buttons. Each and every single one of them.
Because Satoshi had created art. A beautiful piece made of clay, depicting two winged men that could be just about anyone. Dark thought he knew what it meant, but the surprise and horror of the discovery had overlapped the wonder and joy. Krad had sealed the artwork, had made it safe, and Dark knew it wasn't a simplistic seal. His other half had known what he was doing.
"Shit," he whispered. "What have I done?"
And why am I still alive? he wondered.
He had driven Krad to the extreme, had actually provoked the attack, but except for a little shaky feeling, he was fine. He still had his head on his shoulders, the house wasn't a ruin, and no avenging angel was standing over him, trying to tear him apart.
Krad had changed.
Dark hadn't.
He winced at that thought. Why had he done this? Why had he been so angry, so... unreasonable? Daisuke had created art as well, powerful art, too. They had gotten into very deep shit because of it.
"I'm so screwed up," he murmured.
Why did I do it? Why?
It was clear from the moment Niwa Daisuke stepped into the kitchen that something was wrong. The last twenty-four hours, he and Satoshi had been without their respective partners and they had enjoyed being amongst themselves, being so private. The night had been late... or it had been an early morning, depending on interpretation. They had come home, dropped off to sleep, and now it was close to noon.
Dark was sitting at the kitchen counter, staring into a mug of coffee as if it held all the answers, and from the looks of it, the coffee was stone cold. He looked a bit disheveled, was dressed in his kaitou outfit from the past, and there was an expression of exhaustion and pain on his features.
Daisuke got himself a glass of orange juice and settled down opposite his partner.
"What happened?" he only wanted to know.
Tormented, violet eyes met his and Dark sighed. "What hasn't?" he asked rhetorically.
Oh damn. This was bad, the young man decided.
"Good morning," Satoshi's voice interrupted them, but from the way Hikari trailed off, he had picked up on the situation.
Exchanging brief looks, Satoshi just nodded, grabbed the juice container and left the kitchen in search for his missing half.
"Dark?" Daisuke coaxed gently.
Dark buried his head in his arms, groaning. "I'm an idiot, Dai. A goddamn idiot!"
Krad had chosen the attic as his refuge and Satoshi hadn't expected it otherwise. It was where he usually spent his time, reading, doing whatever he did outside his host's body the rare times he was separated. The attic had been refurbished as a studio with a huge, triangular window that gave a great view. Light poured in through the window and the skylights that had been worked into the roof. It was a place Satoshi loved and where he had worked countless hours, and it was a place where he and Daisuke had spent leisurely afternoons when the rain was pounding down on the roof, just listening to the sound of raindrops.
Satoshi looked at his demon, his curse, noting the suppressed anger and fury, the way Krad was close to exploding. He stepped closer, aware of the danger should the being he had come to trust suddenly turn on him, but something inside him shook its head. Krad wouldn't hurt him. He was sure of it.
"Krad?" he coaxed gently. "Wanna tell me what's going on?"
Krad pinched the bridge of his nose in a very human gesture and Satoshi wondered if demons could get headaches.
"Dark found the figurine."
For a moment Satoshi had no idea what he was talking about, then all color left his face. "What?!"
"He found it in Emiko's basement. I'm sorry, Sato."
Satoshi flailed for words. Dark had... he had seen it? He had...?
"He knows I sealed it. He knows you created it."
"Oh my god...."
Krad looked mournfully at him. "Sorry," he repeated.
"I guess he... didn't approve."
"Yes, in a way."
"Shit. Will he tell Daisuke?"
"I don't know. We... didn't really touch that topic. The fight was about something else."
Satoshi shot him a confused look.
"He said I should have stopped you from doing this, that my first host is to blame for our cursed existence already..." Krad closed his eyes. "I know that, but I would never stop you."
Satoshi reached out automatically and touched his demon. "Thank you, Krad. Even though I regret what I did, what I created, I am truly truly thankful that you let me go through with it."
Krad smiled a little. "You're welcome. I still stand by it... it's beautiful, Satoshi."
The young man shrugged, slightly self-conscious, then looked at the other. "What else happened?"
That had come too quickly.

"Dark? Mind explaining what happened?" Daisuke asked patiently. "And don't say it's nothing."
Dark buried his head in his hands. "Krad and I had... an argument."
"Well, that's obvious."
"It wasn't friendly."
"Stating the obvious again." Daisuke emptied his glass of orange juice and got up for a coffee. He knew he would need one. "The house is still standing, you have all your arms and legs, so I guess it wasn't that bad..." At Dark's wince he stopped. "It was that bad?"
The kaitou nodded.
"And I'm not seeing any holes in the wall why?"
"He held back," was the pained sigh.
"I see." Daisuke switched on the perculator and shot his partner an inquiring look. "Now... spill it. What happened? What's the reason?"
Dark looked up, the violet eyes tight. "When we helped Emiko with cleaning out the treasure room, I found something in a crate. It was a Hikari figurine. Very beautiful. And sealed."
Daisuke listened, not yet sure what this was really about. "Mom has a lot of stuff down there," he commented.
"Yes, but this was a recent piece of art. And the one who had sealed it was... Krad."
"Yes, my other half."
"I know who Krad is," Daisuke replied, annoyed. "When did he start sealing art?"
"Recently. Before you went to Prague. And... by Satoshi's request."
Daisuke blinked. "Come again? Dark, you're not making sense! What's going on here?"
"Hikari Satoshi created a piece of art, that's what's going here," Dark replied tightly.
"Satoshi did what?" Daisuke breathed, wide brown eyes looking at his partner.
"He created a figurine, art... Krad sealed it immediately. It was powerful, Dai. Very, very powerful."
Daisuke had to sit down. "Why?" he stuttered.
"Krad said it was for you. Because he loves you. He spent a lot of time on it."
"And he hid it away? Why?!"
Dark ran a hand through his unruly, black hair. "You know why. His love alone made it very powerful. Your admiration and love would have turned it into another Black Wings."
Daisuke shook his head. Not in denial but in continued shock and horror.
Dark's lips tightened. "When I discovered it I made a mistake."
Niwa shot him a confused look.
"I lit into him. I... said things I sorely regret now, but which I can't take back. I..." Dark evaded his host's eyes. "I... I'd..." He broke off. "I made a mistake."
"Tell me," Daisuke begged softly.
Dark tried to refuse, but in the end he did. He told Daisuke everything that had happened.

Satoshi looked at Krad, stunned beyond belief at what he had heard. Golden eyes whirled with anger and pain, and Hikari reached out, cupping one cheek in a very intimate gesture.
"No one will seal you, Krad. Not as long as I live and breathe. You're mine."
Eyes widened and Krad stared at him. Satoshi smirked.
"You're not the only possessive one. I am, too. You're mine, my demon, my curse. No one, not even the kaitou Dark Mousy, has a right to decide over your fate."
"Mine," Satoshi repeated firmly, with just as much possessiveness as Krad had shown in the past when it came to his host.
Krad's lips curled into a faint, almost sarcastic smile. "A few years ago I would have done everything to hear those words, Hikari Satoshi."
The young man shrugged, grinning a little. "Back then they wouldn't have been the truth. Now they are. I won't let Dark do anything to you."
"Thank you," was the sincere reply.

Daisuke rubbed his neck, then looked at his partner, who seemed small and beaten and so confused at the moment. Gone was the powerful, cocky and self-assured thief, the man who never shied away from anything, who knew how good he was, who flaunted his assets, and who used what he could to reach his goals. Instead, Dark was suddenly very young and ill at ease. He looked more like a whipped puppy than a three centuries old master thief.
"Why did you do that, Dark?" Daisuke asked.
"I don't know, Daisuke. I really don't know. I thought about it all the time, and I can't find an answer. It just... pissed me off."
"That Satoshi tried himself at art? That he did it out of love? That Krad sealed it? That he didn't trust you enough to tell you?"
Dark winced. "Yeah."
"Which one?" Daisuke pressed on.
"That he didn't trust me," the kaitou murmured after a while.
"You two have a history, Dark, don't forget that. Krad is just now learning what it means to be free, to have what he wanted without chains holding him down or someone trying to hurt him." Daisuke held the troubled, violet eyes. "You two were enemies for close to three centuries. Old instincts and habits die hard."

"He doesn't trust me," Krad sighed and leaned back, looking at the sky through the window.
Satoshi shook his head. "He does. It was just... an over reaction."
"He had no right to attack you."
"No, he didn't, but in a way I understand him. I knew I had to seal the figurine, Krad. And I think you and Dark should talk about it."
Krad snorted. "We're done talking."
"I don't believe that months of hard work and growing trust can be destroyed that easily."
Golden eyes filled with sarcasm. "I do, Satoshi. I do."

"You should go and talk to him," Daisuke advised.
"And apologize?"
"If you feel like it's necessary," the young man said with a fine smile. "This is your relationship, partner."
Dark blinked at the word 'relationship', but he let it slip. Too much was going through his head. There was the need to set things right against the old habit to just kick the crap out of the demon and be done with him. Then there was this attraction to his other half, something he had felt throughout the centuries, something that had always brought them together. He could feel Krad, his very presence in this house, like a faint background hum. It was how they had come to be aware of each other with each rebirth. It was their common heritage.
Same wavelengths, he mused. But different. Opposites.
And opposites attract.
So true, Dark sighed to himself. In good ways and bad ways. For three centuries there had been only the bad ways.
"I don't think he would want to talk to me," he finally said.
"You don't know until you try."
"He might just want to kill me," Dark murmured.
"Yeah, he might. I know I'd kick your ass if it had been me," Daisuke told him with a grin.
"You are such a helpful little spirit," came the growl.
Dai grinned more. "Go, Dark. Go and talk to him. You need him."
Now what was that supposed to mean? Dark thought.
His human partner leaned forward, catching his eyes. "You once told me he's your antithesis. He's the light to your darkness, he's part of what makes you both good and evil in the same person. Krad's not the negative side, you're not the positive side. You each share half of it. You need each other like I need Satoshi. Maybe in a slight variation to that relationship, but you need him."
Dark closed his eyes and buried his head in his hands. Yes, he needed Krad. Had always needed him. The figurine popped up in his head. Unity. Balance. It was them in a way. Each independent and fiercely so, but also so much dependent on the other.
"Wish me luck," he sighed as he rose.
Daisuke just gave him a cheerful smile.
Satoshi walked down from the attic, lost in thought, wondering when everything had gone downhill so fast. He was almost bowled over by Dark and the kaitou shot him an apologetic look.
"He's no longer here," Hikari said calmly, stopping the other man in his tracks. "He left."
"Where to?" Dark demanded.
"I don't know. He needed time to think."
Dark's shoulders dropped in defeat, then his face set in a decisive mask. "I'll find him," he muttered and raced back downstairs.
"Good luck," Satoshi murmured.
He stood in the middle of the flight of stairs for a few seconds longer, then descended them completely, walking past the kitchen and straight into the small room he kept as an office. He shut the door and leaned his head against it.
When had his life taken such a drastic turn?
Daisuke hadn't seen nor heard his lover for over an hour and by now he worried about him. Satoshi probably knew that Daisuke had been told about the figurine, but it wasn't like Hikari to avoid him completely. He had never done so before. So Daisuke looked for him. The attic was empty, so was the garden, and he stopped in front of the door to the office.
Knocking, he waited for an answer.
When none came, he called his lover's name.

Satoshi had spent the last hour thinking about nothing but the figurine. Why had he created it? What had he been thinking? Had he been thinking at all?
The answer was easy: no, he hadn't. He had followed his emotions and it had resulted in that.
When Daisuke knocked at the door he briefly contemplated ignoring the call, but then he opened. And he looked at his lover of close to four years now, the man he knew so well , who had saved him.
His name. Spoken softly and lovingly. Brown eyes were filled with warmth and Satoshi found himself craving it like a drowning man.
Daisuke stopped in front of him, smiling tenderly, and then wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close. Satoshi let him, falling into that wanted warmth, that strong embrace, and held on. Their lips met in a soft expression of love, of affection, and Daisuke ran his hands through the long strands.
They stood together for a very long time, neither man talking, just holding each other, until Daisuke finally pushed back a little.
"Can I see it?"
Satoshi closed his eyes. "I'm not sure that's a good idea."
"Just once. I know the danger, but I only want to see it one time, Satoshi. Then we bury it forever. Please?"
Finally Hikari nodded, detaching himself completely and taking his lover's hand. "Come with me," he murmured.
Daisuke looked at the figurine, breathless, taken by the sheer beauty and love it radiated. It was wonderful, amazing and, Dark had been right, dangerous. He turned to his lover and pulled him into a fierce, hard kiss.
"It's beautiful, Sato. Like you."
Satoshi smiled, slightly embarrassed, then put his only work of art back into the box. "It's sealed. No one will ever see it."
"I saw it. Thank you."
Satoshi turned to him, his back to the once again stowed away figurine. "It expresses all I feel," he confessed. "I can't put it into words."
"Did you name it?"
He nodded slowly. "Unity," he whispered.
"Very fitting." Daisuke smiled. "I love you, Hikari Satoshi. Very much. With everything I am."
And they were in each other's arms again, Daisuke seeking Satoshi's mouth, hungrily kissing him, holding him close.
"I don't deserve you," Satoshi murmured after a while.
Daisuke grinned and it wasn't unlike the expression Dark always wore. Cocky, self-assured, very much teasing. "Yep, you're right, but you got me. I don't come with a refund guarantee and you can't take me back to the pound."
Satoshi snorted, eyes sparkling with amusement at the words. "They wouldn't take you back anyway. You're too spoiled."
Daisuke nipped at his lips, running the tip of his tongue over them. "Uh-huh. So you got me. For good. For keeps."
"Damn," Satoshi muttered, unable to keep from smiling.
Daisuke just kissed him again, pushing him gently against the wall, proceeding to plunder his mouth. Hands pushed up the t-shirt Satoshi was wearing, seeking skin and finding it.
"Want you," he whispered against the closest ear, treating the ear lobe to a gentle teething.
Satoshi groaned encouragingly and they separated, two pairs of very heated eyes meeting.
They might not even make it to the bedroom, Daisuke decided. But hell if he cared.
Dark found his other half where he wouldn't have suspected him at all. Then again, maybe he should have thought of this place first. It was where they had come from, it was where they had been and it was where the final battle had fused them together again.
Memories came back of that time, of fighting for their lives, of magic crackling in the underground half-dome structure. He remembered Krad's wild, close to insane expression, the glow in his eyes, the power of his blasts. Dark had done what had been necessary, sacrificing himself to save Daisuke and the town. He had willingly plunged into the Black Wings, pulling Krad along, only to fall victim to the demon's Plan B - which had backfired in the end.
They had returned to the place where they had come from. Three hundred years after their birth, each changed from the entity that had emerged from the artwork, each an individual but still yearning and craving for the other half. Dark had never admitted it to himself, but he had felt pulled toward Krad. The demon had shown it more clearly, almost obsessively, but within Dark the craving had been more subtle. They belonged together, darkness and light, and it would always be there, this connection, this bond. Neither was a copy of the other, neither was the original. They had been one once, but now, after such a long time, they were individuals, each with his own hopes and dreams, fears and nightmares, wants and needs.
Walking into the hall that had once housed the sealed Black Wings, Dark marveled at the size of the underground room. No one would suspect that something like this was underneath the ruin of the old cathedral. No one would have suspected a lot of things in this town. The cathedral had been destroyed in that last discharge of magic, but the underground chambers were still intact.
A lot from the fight was still a silent reminder of that day. The massive chains that lay discarded on the floor and which had once held and sealed the Black Wings. The altar-like contraption that had housed the seal's locking mechanism. No dust had settled, as if even the smallest molecule was afraid to stay here too long. Everything was simply cast in twilight, forever frozen in that moment after the reunion. Even the shattered pieces of the demonic skull that had protected the lock were still strewn around the now useless locking mechanism.
And in the middle of it, there was Krad.
Dark watched the white-clad figure. The demon had his wings out, folded on his back, and the blond hair seemed to flow in the waves of magic emanating from him. He couldn't last like this, without a human host to restore him, but so far there was no danger of him falling on his face. And he looked lost. Despite the impressive sight, he looked lost and alone and very, very small.
No wonder in this cathedral room, Dark mused.
There wasn't a single piece of the Black Wings left. It had been blown to smithereens. Krad stood next to a severed link of the giant chains that had held the Black Wings, gazing thoughtfully at it.
"A fitting place to end it all," he said calmly, not looking at Dark but clearly aware of his presence. "There's still power here, in these chains."
Dark steeled himself. "It's also a place for a new beginning."
A soft chuckle, mirthless and black. "I think we reached a point in our future that has no new beginning any more, kaitou. You made that clear."
Dark walked closer. "No," he whispered sharply. "No. I made a mistake and I'm sorry, Krad. What I said... was uncalled for. I don't even know why I said it."
"Because it's what you feel, Dark. You finally said it out loud instead of keeping it bottled up inside." Krad turned and looked at him, face blank. "You said it yourself not long ago. You hate my face. You hate what I am, what I represent. Well, not too long ago I wanted to kill you, too."
"Things have changed," Dark argued, coming even closer, drawn to his other half like a magnet. "We have changed. What I said... I only said it because I was... angry and disappointed. You sealed the artwork and hid it. I thought you would have at least told me about it."
"I promised Satoshi not to reveal his secret. I took care of it. It was dealt with."
Dark gazed into the pained eyes and swallowed. "I understand that now, Krad. I didn't then. I was... emotional. I didn't mean what I said, believe me!"
There was longing in Krad's expression. So deep and so intense, it took Dark's breath away. The demon hadn't wanted all this, but Dark had forced him into a corner. Now he knew no way out and in a way he had resigned himself to a certain fate.
"I'm sorry," he whispered again. "Please... give me a chance."
Krad drew a shuddering breath, wings trembling. Dark stepped closer.
"Please," he begged. "I don't want us to be enemies."
"Maybe that's all we're ever meant to be," Krad murmured, sounding fatalistic. "Dark and light, good and evil. I can't be different. I only hurt. I never did anything else."
"No! I don't believe this. Three hundred years can't be changed within a few months, but... I don't want to fight you."
He now was so close to the demon, he could feel the magical tremors emanating from him.
"I don't," Dark repeated, voice dropping. "I didn't know about your promise. If I had..."
"It would have changed nothing. You felt betrayed. You can only feel that if you expected me to do it one day."
"No, Krad. I felt betrayed because I do trust you already. I know you always keep your promises." He tried a smile. "And your threats, though I had hoped we were past the 'kill the kaitou' part."
Krad looked away, not moving a facial muscle. Dark reached out and touched him, just like he had touched him through the connection they shared before. Now it was a different sensation; much more intimate. He forced the handsome face to look at him.
"We aren't enemies, Krad. We are friends. What I said... was brought on by my emotions. By feeling so betrayed. If I had expected you to do something like it, I wouldn't have felt so... hurt." He smiled a little. "And I don't want anyone to seal you, to take you away."
Krad forcefully separated himself from the kaitou, but there was a flicker in those inhuman eyes. Something that told Dark that he wasn't on a losing ground. His wings opened partially, as if he was about to flee - or attack -- but he didn't.
"I don't think you can only hurt, Krad," Dark added softly. "You are much more than that. You proved it with Satoshi. You proved it to me. Please give me another chance... It's all I want."
After a very long moment of silence, in which the golden eyes shifted through a myriad of emotions, Krad finally nodded.
A tender smile graced the kaitou's lips. "Thank you," he said sincerely. "You won't regret it."
"Maybe. But maybe you will."
He shook his head, dark bangs flying. "No. Never."
Krad looked dubious, but he kept his mouth.
"How about we leave this dark and dreary place?" Dark went on. "I'd like to get some fresh air..."
He stepped back a little, inviting the demon to come with him. He was glad to hear the footsteps following him into the warm night air. The two men stood next to each other and Dark looked into the star-speckled sky, smiling a little.
"You know... it is beautiful. Satoshi's work."
Krad glanced at him, eyes narrowing, but when he found no lie, he nodded. "It's amazing."
"He's a true Hikari. He captures beauty and soul, warmth and life."
Krad uneasily moved his wings.
Dark met the golden eyes, smile widening. "When I looked at it... I wondered what he saw when he created the figurine."
"All art is open for interpretation. An artist pours his love and wants and dreams into it. The meaning is in the eye of the beholder."
"Yeah, it is. Always. You can see everything in it. Closeness, love, trust... black and white. Wanna know what I saw when I looked at it?"
Krad didn't say anything, but he twitched an eyebrow.
"Us," Dark said, face softening, violet eyes deep pools in the smooth, handsome face.
Krad blinked. He was about to say something, but then thought better of it.
"Black and white," Dark continued, still soft-voiced. "Yin and yang. A unity. It's what we should be, Krad. The two of us. Together."
With that he opened his wings and took off into the sky, leaving a very bemused demon behind.
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