Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Characters: Dark, Krad, Satoshi.
Summary: Dark can admit more to his mortal enemy than to those he has dwelled inside of.
Disclaimer: They belong to Yukiru Sugisaki. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt "enemies" at Genprompt Bingo. I'm not at all inclined to write about Krad; but at least this once, in the form of a brief late-night encounter, I wanted to make a small exploration of the dynamic between he and Dark.
Come out to me, Dark. I grow tired of these endless games. Come and decide this between us once and for all.
The words were only a whisper, but they interrupted Dark's thoughts like a sudden sliver of ice down the spine. After a strenuous heist earlier in the evening, Daisuke had fallen deeply asleep, leaving the Phantom Thief half-awake and pensive within the shadows of their shared being; but that voice crept into his consciousness from far beyond his tamer's somnolent body and the surrounding bedroom.
As he listened with senses that could belong to nothing human, he felt Krad outside in the night, just entering the range of his perception.
Hmph, Dark chuckled grimly, with a mental shake of his head. I see Hiwatari lost his grip on you tonight… Well, you can go and find someone else to play with. I had a busy evening, and I'm too sleepy to bother with you right now.
Krad snorted in disdain. Oh, yes… Another one of your precious 'heists'. Tell me, has it ever occurred to you that by seizing the works of the Hikari and sealing them away in oblivion, you're nothing more than a traitor to our own kind?
Had he been in a physical form at the time, Dark would have rolled his eyes. You know, the only thing I find offensive about that remark is you calling other Hikari works your own kind. You have no kind, Krad. You have nothing in common with them… or even with me.
You wound me, Dark…
Inner silence reigned for a few minutes more. Dark could almost have thought Krad had been sensible enough to give up—except that he could still sense the white-winged devil drawing nearer. The feeling of Krad's presence became almost as tangible as if he were in the room, a heavy oppressive sensation like the moment before lightning struck…
And then he was on the balcony outside.
For a moment, Dark was tempted to ignore Krad. If he could have penetrated the many complex layers of magical protections placed upon the Niwa home, he would already have done it a long time before. Let him stand raging outside the window until dawn, if he wanted to; it wouldn't do him any good. The time had not yet come for their showdown. Dark was certain even Krad himself knew that.
…And yet, that served to make him curious as to why Krad had come stalking him.
Daisuke was still asleep and blissfully unaware. Slowly and carefully, Dark extended himself from within the depths of Daisuke's being, waking his connections to their mutual flesh without rousing the boy's mind. Although he had promised (well, sort of) that he would not seize control while his tamer was unconscious, he decided the need at the moment was great enough to justify it. Someone had to keep an eye on whatever Krad was doing here, after all.
Within a few moments, Daisuke's form had given place to Dark's. He opened his violet eyes and stretched, feeling only a little bit foolish in the boy's too-short pajamas.
"Kyu?" Wiz trilled inquisitively from on top of Dark's chest. Awakened by the unmistakable shifting of the body underneath him, the familiar was now bright-eyed with alertness, expecting that the change meant impending action for the Phantom Thief—and for his faithful wings.
"Shh, not yet, Wiz," Dark whispered as he sat up, gathering the ball of fur in his cupped hands to set him aside on the bed. He glanced at the ominous, winged silhouette in the moonlight beyond the glass door, and his eyes hardened. "I'm just going to see about our visitor."
As Wiz followed the gaze, the fur along his spine bristled, and he growled uncharacteristically.
Dark slipped down from the bed, turned on the light, and padded barefoot to the door. He felt no hesitation about unfastening the lock, sliding the door open. The protective spells upon the house would react instantly if Krad set one foot inside the threshold.
Krad watched with jaded eyes as the glass barrier between them slid aside. For a moment, the two halves of the Black Wings faced each other grimly… and then Dark took a step back, with a sardonic smile.
For a single moment, Krad almost fell for it; almost took a step forward, across the threshold and its invisible line of defense. Then he abruptly froze, his own lips twisting bitterly. "Do you really think me that much of a fool?"
"You obviously are, if you thought I'd just walk out there to face you now. Anyway, it was worth a shot." Dark retreated a few more steps and propped himself against Daisuke's desk, regarding Krad with a lowered eyebrow. "When the time comes, I'm going to fight you on my terms."
"I have no intention of giving you that choice. Every time you leave this place to carry out your thieving ways, I'll be waiting."
"Your tamer seems to have something to say about that."
"He will soon be irrelevant. Each day, I only grow stronger, as he grows weaker."
"Sure. You just go right on underestimating him." Dark folded his arms. "Satoshi isn't like any of the Hikari before him—and it's the same with Daisuke. Our existence can no longer be what it was in the past generations, Krad. Our war isn't theirs anymore, and if you refuse to accept that… you won't survive."
"As you survive? A pathetic lapdog to the Niwas, living only in the shadows, until those brief moments when they deign to let you stray a little farther on your leash for their own ends?" Krad snorted derisively. "I will not go on living fragments of a life. I intend to be free, and to possess this body for myself. What worth does the life of a mere boy have compared to mine?"
"He's a living human being—but you and I are only things."
"We are greater creations than any human will ever be."
"If you understood them at all, you'd know how wrong you are." A sense of sadness filled Dark as he turned away. He had no fear of showing his back, with Krad unable to step into the room. Somehow, he didn't want the other to see his face when he said what he wanted to say; words he could never even have spoken to Daisuke, or Daiki, or any of their forefathers. It was ironic that he could admit far more to his mortal enemy than to those he had dwelled inside of.
"In a way, I pity you as much as the Hikaris. Maybe it really is only your nature as my opposite, but if you hadn't struggled with them from the beginning, forced them to feel hate and bitterness for the burden of you… maybe they could have shown you what the Niwas have shown me." He smiled somberly. "A half-life shared with kindness and love is better than a whole life filled only with anger."
Behind him, he heard a hiss of disgust. "This vile sentimentality is what makes you weak."
"No. It's what makes me stronger. The Niwas taught me to care about something more than myself—and that's a power you'll never know." Dark closed his eyes, his fists clenching at his sides. "Could that make some part of me any closer to being human? I don't know… but I'd like to hope so."
"You would wish to be like them?" Krad choked.
Dark finally turned halfway, glancing over his shoulder with a melancholy twist to his lips. "Why not? Humans may not be perfect… but there's something greater in their souls than even the Hikaris' magic could instill in us."
Krad released a violent snarl of rage and contempt. "You're too wretched a creature to deserve existence—!"
And that was when it happened: when he forgot himself in his fury, when he took one step forward, his foot landing halfway between the deck of the balcony and the carpet of Daisuke's room. The instant the electric jolt of the barrier magic shot up through his body, he gasped and tried to recoil—but the spell froze him in place, refusing to release him until it had done its work. He fell forward onto the floor, writhing in pain as his wings melted into his back, and his body began to shrink.
"Not to worry. You know this level of magic can't do you any permanent harm," Dark said coldly, meeting Krad's wide-eyed stare of shock and hatred, even as the golden color of those eyes began to darken. "But you're finished for tonight."
It was a spell that could only work inside the confines of the Niwa home. The large amount of magical power it required came from the house's own aura—the living energy it had absorbed over the years from the emotions of those who lived there. Only within their own home could the Niwas have this safe refuge from Krad and other magical threats… and unfortunately, Krad was well aware of that limitation. He knew he could never touch them there, and it made him that much more determined to strike when they ventured beyond the protection of those walls. After he recovered, his accidental triggering of this defense was a humiliation he would burn to take revenge for.
The transformation progressed swiftly. Krad thrashed and clawed at the carpet, as if he was trying to physically cling to his dominant state; but his struggle was futile, as his control over his tamer's changing body slipped inexorably from his grasp. Within moments, it was the thin face of Satoshi Hiwatari that stared up at Dark instead.
For the present, Satoshi would be anything but a threat. He could only lie there, shivering and panting, his frail body wracked with a lingering ache from Krad's resistance to the forced reversion. Several white feathers lay scattered around him on the floor, the only remaining trace of the monster inside him.
"Why don't you just kill me now and end it?" he ground out, his voice rough and weak.
"Because then I wouldn't be any better than Krad." Dark extended a slim hand to Satoshi, prompting a look of surprise and distrust from the unwilling host of his nemesis. A faint, rueful smile touched his lips. "And besides, Daisuke wouldn't like it. He's the first one of my tamers who ever made me believe this could be different—that it doesn't have to end the way his ancestors and yours have always had it scripted. Give him a chance, Satoshi."
The boy glared resentfully at the offered hand of the being his clan had sworn to destroy; but at last, too weak to do otherwise, he reached up and grasped it. He allowed Dark to raise him to his feet, and stood still for a moment, steadying himself.
"Nothing can change," he half-whispered at length—but while the hoarse words were tinged with anger and despair, there was little conviction in them.
"I guess a part of that is up to you. Without even really understanding it, Daisuke is trying to find another way, and for his sake I've chosen to try along with him… but we're only half of this equation. Think about it carefully, Satoshi."
When the boy had recovered strength enough to move, Dark quietly escorted him downstairs to the front door, and released him into the night. No further words were spoken between them, but—unless it was a trick of the moonlight in the shadowed hallways—Dark thought Satoshi's hard and bitter expression had softened into something more pensive.
Through it all, Daisuke's sleeping consciousness never stirred. Dark was grateful that his tamer always slept so soundly after the exertion and stress of a heist.
Having once again locked the door securely behind Satoshi, the pajama-clad Phantom Thief returned to Daisuke's room. He gathered the white feathers from the floor, and after murmuring a spell that would nullify the traces of Krad's power in them, he scattered them to the winds outside on the balcony. Then he climbed back up into the bed.
As he laid down on his back, Wiz immediately cuddled up close to him. He lifted his familiar onto his chest, absently petting soft white fur.
"This time is different than it's ever been before, Wiz," he said softly, as he reflected upon Daisuke's extraordinary innocence, and the enigma that was the last remaining Hikari. "I wonder what might come of it."
With that, he allowed himself to sink back into the depths of Daisuke's being. His form reverted to that of his tamer, and he settled deep into his realm of inner darkness, where there was nothing but his thoughts and ageless memories.
Before his own sleep took him, his mind was filled with silent wondering about the future.
© 2014 Jordanna Morgan