Epilogue: Minage

"How far away will you go?
Is it so far away that you can never come back?
I want to see you but I can't; I just want you to tell me.
I won't forget any of the final tears you gave me."

Hamasaki Ayumi, "Ever Free"

"You're not still mad at me, are you Dark?"

Apparently the thief was, for he maintained his silence stoically, and Daisuke frowned, stomping a bit louder on the pavement towards home in a childish fit. "Fine!" It seemed as if nothing was going his way today; first Hiwatari-kun had been absent—again—so he hadn't been able to speak to him regarding Krad's late-night visit, and Dark was still giving him the silent treatment, three days later. Their tiff hadn't even been serious enough to merit being termed such, just a difference of opinion.

Dark's words had actually sent a chill through Daisuke, though, with the slow, uncertain manner with which they'd been delivered. So unlike Dark, so unfamiliar.

'You know, if he did Seal himself' he'd murmured.

"If he did…then what?"

The deep pause that had followed had been enough to swallow them both whole. 'I'd be gone too.'

Dark was not going to leave, he continued to remind himself—and no stupid fight was going to keep them apart. "I've put up with you for this long, hear me?" he reminded the being inside his mind, not really expecting a response, "So just keep playing your silent treatment for however long you want—you'll come around eventually, and I'll be waiting for you."

He frowned when he didn't even receive the usual wave of agreement he was almost always returned, and angrily swung the front gate open, marching up the steps to the front door. Without even an, "I'm home!" he paused only momentarily to slip off his shoes and stalk into the living room.

Except that his one-sided argument and Satoshi's absence from school had sufficiently distracted him from the fact that he still had to run his mother's gauntlet, and he now found himself with a face-full of pie courtesy of one of the traps he'd triggered.

"Dai-chan!" Emiko's reprimanding voice called over a hidden speaker, "How on earth could you have let that happen? Honestly! One of the oldest tricks in the book, I almost second-guessed adding it to your regimen today! What if that had been something more dangerous, like some poison or explosive? Really, get in the kitchen this instant and clean up! This means double for tomorrow you know, and two demerits!"

Head hung low, he slunk into the kitchen, now quite more depressed than he'd been upon entering the house. He hastily wiped the cream from his eyes and nose, and Emiko met him halfway, mopping him up with a wet towel, "M—Mom!" he spluttered, pushing her away, but she wouldn't be deterred, "I can—I got it—Mo—"

"Don't tell me you're not ashamed of yourself?" She released him, letting him finish wiping his face, and crossed her arms, stepping back from him into the kitchen, "I've a good mind to tell your grandpa about this—how disappointing! What's gotten into y—"

"I just—I had a bad day, all right?" he groused, slipping into a chair at the kitchen table, "I wasn't thinking…"

When he gave no further explanation than this, Emiko eventually prodded him, "Well it must have been quite a bad day if you let a trap of that level get the best of you—what was it, Dai-chan?"

He shifted his gaze, pouting once more and almost glad to have an audience. "Hiwatari-kun…he's been avoiding me lately. And…and Dark's not talking to me anymore, cause of some stupid fight we had…"

Blinking, the mother pursed her lips and bit back a retort about the Hikari child, instead tacking onto Dark. After all, it was her duty as the thief's mother this incarnation to be sure he stayed on perpetual good terms with his Tamer. "And…what was this fight about, that he's taken to giving you the silent treatment?" She took the towel away from him and continued to gently mop at his hair and shirt while he elaborated.

"Just…stupid stuff…" he edged, "He thinks…something bad is gonna happen soon…and I told him he was just worrying too much. But he kept saying it, and…and it was nothing, really. We just disagreed. I didn't even think it was that big a deal." Resting his head on the table, he muttered, "Guess we're not as close as I thought…"

Emiko smiled gently, running her fingers through her son's messy red locks, "But you are, Dai-chan, you know that. It's just a little quarrel—Dark's far too pig-headed and stubborn to give up easily if he thinks he's right." She paused, blinking, "By the way…what exactly does he think is going to happen that's so bad?"

Daisuke shot back up, heart racing like a cornered animal—he really didn't want to have this conversation with his mother…she'd definitely freak out if she knew that Krad had come to his room two nights before and he hadn't said anything to her about it! "That…you know, that Krad's going to try something soon. He was all vague about it—" Liar, "—so I told him he must've just been paranoid, what with them having to fight every time we go out on a job now…"

"Hmm…" Emiko mused, eyeing her son critically, "Is that it?" He nodded frantically, and she pushed herself back up, stepping towards the basement. "Then let's see if there's anything downstairs that might help. One can never be too careful about these things."

Breathing a sigh of relief that his ruse hadn't fallen apart, he followed obediently. "Where are Dad and Grandpa?"

Emiko flipped a switch at the top of the stairs, setting the torches below alight, and descended with her son. "Kosuke-san was napping on the couch in the living room, and your grandfather and Towa-chan went out an hour or so ago to catch the afternoon market specials. They should be back…any…minute…" Her voice trailed off as she stepped into the ceremony area, brows creased in worry.

"…Mom?" Daisuke called, stepping up from behind her, "What's wrong?"

"…It…no…" She shook her head furiously, then whirled on her son, gripping him by the shoulders, "Dai-chan—when?"

He blinked in confusion, "'When'…? When what?"

Her gaze was wild, "When did you and Dark stop speaking? When was the last time you sensed him? When, Daisuke?"

He opened and closed his mouth a few times, words coming out in sputtered gibberish, before he managed to find his tongue, "I—I guess…Friday…Friday evening. Or, Saturday morning, rather. It was early…" She was shaking now, and released her grip, "…Why?" The worried quiver had transferred to his voice now. "What's wrong, Mom?"

"No—no, stand here, right here." She jerked him forward into the center of a small circle scribbled in chalk on the ground. "Don't move from that spot—Mommy has to see something."

He wouldn't have moved even if she hadn't said anything. "But—what's wrong? What're you—"

"Hush, Niwa Daisuke!" And he shut right up; his mother was rarely so sharp unless it was something important. Or dangerous. "Where is it…where is it…" She scoured the shelves behind her for a moment before snatching a thick tome off the end, hastily opening it and flipping through pages. Running a finger down what she deemed the right page, she muttered something quickly to herself before snatching up a small scepter from a table beside the bookcase. "Don't say a word, and stay perfectly still now."

Daisuke gulped, but complied, heart racing as he watched his mother perform some spell he was certain he'd never seen before. He'd thought all those stupid ceremonies he'd had to sit through most of his life were just for show, to pacify his mother and her power trip. To think she actually knew something about the powers she called upon made him feel quite ignorant indeed.

A moment passed in stark silence, and though not a word had passed her lips, he'd been watching intently enough to know she'd mouthed some phrases. She opened her eyes again, shining with tears, and the scepter dropped to the ground with a loud clanking thud, before she, too, slipped to her knees, hand over her mouth.

Praying it was fine to move now, since she seemed finished, Daisuke dashed over to her side to steady her, but rather than accept his support, she grabbed him into a fierce hug, holding him close as only a mother could and rocking back and forth with him in her arms. "M…Mom…?"

"I'm sorry…Dai-chan…my Dai-chan…"


She raised a trembling finger, drawing his gaze to an empty glass case which hung on the wall…one which had not been empty when last he'd seen it. "…He's gone…"

It didn't take long, really. What with the tide, and the recent storms, and luck. No one said anything about it, it was bad luck, you know. The desk at the back left of his classroom had been empty for days, and the Hikari boy's nameplate had been surreptitiously removed from his shoe locker. When Daisuke approached one of the faculty about this sudden turn of events, he was given the runaround and hastily told that the boy had, "Transferred—to another district."

No one told the students anything. But they found out all the same. Such a newsworthy event being kept off the airwaves for long? Preposterous!

But no one wants to hear about such things on the five o' clock news. That's just disgusting. Filthy. How on earth could they air images like that?

Where does art go when it dies? I know it must go somewhere, for art—art has a soul, and anything which has a soul must find a place of eternal rest or else float in limbo forever… Heaven? Hell? Orsomeplace entirely different

Where does art go when it dies?

I should very much like to knowfor I think I should like to go there too when I die

The next time he saw the name "Hiwatari Satoshi," it was plastered across a banner running along the bottom of the television screen on the evening news. "Tragic" and "dreadful" and "unthinkable of a fourteen-year-old boy" were words and phrases he didn't like hearing linked to his friend…but was all the same accustomed to doing so.

His mother had sighed softly, shaking her head, and announced that they'd all certainly attend the funeral, it was the least they could do.

For some reason, Daisuke suddenly recalled the saying, "Everyone speaks better about a man after he's dead."

"You knew?" Daisuke gaped at his father. "You…you knew that Krad…how he felt about Hiwatari-kun, and you didn't do anything!" This whole situation…all of it could have been resolved so differently! There might not have been a reason for Hiwatari-kun to…go to such lengths…

"Well…I didn't really think it was my place…" Kosuke smiled sadly, rubbing his hands together as he sat on the couch, "All his life he'd had people messing around in his affairs, running his life or telling him how to live. I figured this time…he could make his own decisions. I knew Krad was serious in his feelings, and well…how Satoshi-kun wanted to respond to that was up to him. Accept them, reject them…it didn't really matter. At least he would have made that decision himself. And just being able to experience that much…I think would have made him happier than anything else…" He sighed and pushed himself up. "But…maybe I was wrong…"

Kosuke started to walk back into the kitchen to speak to his wife about what to do with the artpieces, when he caught his son's expression. The boy was shaking, fighting back tears with a blank expression on his face. "…Daisuke?" the man called out worriedly.

One tear crested its banks and started down his now-flushed cheek. "I think… I think I may have done something…really bad…"

"You were right," he admitted to no one. "I didn't believe you, so I guess I apologize now. You were right. You knew him better than me.

"Knew both of them better than me."

Niwa Daisuke was alone now—in more ways than one. He was alone in body, because there was no one else in the cold apartment at the moment, and he shivered as he wandered over to the thermostat and adjusted it to a new setting of a few degrees warmer. He was alone in mind, because…because he was an idiotic ass who couldn't see past prejudice—and hadn't even tried to. Because he couldn't trust others to run their own lives, because he was the stereotypical nosy Niwa, and now knew why the Hikari clan despised them so much. After all, if the Niwa clan hadn't butted in on that ritual so long ago, Dark and Krad never would have even existed in the first place.

"Why does he keep it so cold, though?"

There was nothing particularly special about this apartment on first glance: fresh laundry in the washer waiting to be hung out to dry, dirty dishes in the sink waiting to be washed, papers strewn over a desk waiting to be filed—only leaving the observation that everything was "waiting"…waiting for…for the apartment's owner to return and hang them or wash them or file them.

He was not the apartment's owner. That hadn't yet been decided. Something about "respect for the recently deceased" and a thousand stale taboos. So he had the privilege of waiting around here as long as he fancied, really. Standing in the living room of an empty, dead, decaying apartment, calling out to no one, and with no one answering back.

The floorboards creaked hauntingly underfoot as he wandered back into the bedroom down a short hallway, completely bare of anything that might have made the abode seem homier—as expected of Hiwatari-kun. He gently eased the wooden door open to Satoshi's room and called his name again tentatively, instinctively checking the bed for a sleeping form—if he pretended like nothing had happened, maybe eventually he'd believe himself. His eyes scanned the room as he eased in before falling onto the bedside table.

"Hiwatari-kun's…glasses…" He fingered the bifocals gingerly and turned them over in his hands—he'd never seen the Hikari boy without them, despite the fact that they were merely an accessory, so why would he have taken them off? It was all so confusing…

An old book lay open on the bed to his left, and he sank gently down onto the creaking mattress and lifted the tome into his lap—it was a collection of Greek myths. Scanning the pages, a slip of paper bookmarked a page three-quarters of the way through, and he flipped to it, gaze snapping to a single highlighted sentence in the middle of the page, and he read:

"They say that when Pygmalion loved his statue Galatea, she came alive inside. Her heart of stone began to beat and throb with a passion unknown…"

His voice died away, and he fingered the folded slip of paper, about to shut the book again, when his gaze crinkled as he realized something was written on it, "Gone to find the gods…"

Pursing his lips, he folded the paper into a small square and shoved it in his pants pocket. "Aphrodite…is dead, though, Hiwatari-kun…"

He wandered back through the living room, turning out lights as he went. The laundry could wait, the dishes too. If he had to wait, then so could all those inanimate objects that would never even know their loss.

Casting a last glance around the room, he shut the front door and locked it back with the key he'd managed to garner from Inspector Saehara after a long talk. His mother would be angry if she ever found out about that.

Then he stepped into the elevator at the end of the hall. And he never bothered Hikari Satoshi again.

Author's Notes:
Yes, all right, let the stoning commence. I give you full permission :D But really, did you expect anything else from someone with a penname like mine? I was purposefully vague in this epilogue, because, well, because. I don't tell you how he died (though I did make allusions here and throughout the story that, if you think long and hard, give you the answer, like a riddle), and don't tell you what happens after this. But for that—there is a reason.

Because it's not over yet, of course. Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. "They're DEAD! How on earth can you continue a story with your two main characters dead?"

Well you'll have to wait, won't you? And no, I'm not bringing them back to life or anything like that. Satoshi really is dead, and Krad's…whatever he is, sealed and such. But there is, I'll tell you, quite a bit that happens after this, and Satoshi and Krad are indeed still the main characters. That being said, I'm not sure when it'll get posted. It's turning out to be considerably longer than Galatea itself was, with more scenes and interactions between characters, and thus will take me longer to do. I spent nearly a year in all on Galatea before posting it here, and this one will probably take longer, as there's definitely more going on in it.

When I began writing this "omake," it started out as a little something to satisfy anyone who wanted a happy ending, so I threw in a few scenes and added a twist to allow it, and thought that was the end of it. But apparently not, said my co-authors, and it's now blossomed into a behemoth that's looking as if it might never end! It is indeed still about Satoshi and Krad, and will feature pretty much all the fluff that you were denied here in Galatea itself (and of course some angst too) in what I hope is an acceptable follow-up to this series. Please look forward to it, and thank you all for your support!

For the curious who need a little something to whet their appetites, here are some snippets of scenes to expect:

Satoshi…will get drunk:

"Ah—hah…this is…I…well, you see—"

Satoshi, though, wasn't about to let Krad get away that easily, not when he was starting to feel so playful for some strange reason. He leaned forward to reach the ear of Krad who was still trying to explain away the kiss and whispered deviously, "Two words: Bed. Room."

"…Thanksforthelovelyeveninggoodbye!" He shot out the front doors as quickly as his legs could carry him, silently cursing the fact that he didn't have wings anymore, with Satoshi in tow.

And he will crossdress:

"Just look at that boy!" Saehara mooned, looking on in rapture as Satoshi and his "escort" glided across the ballroom floor in perfect tandem. "What an inspiration!" He sighed wistfully as Krad stole a kiss from his partner, "Even going so far as to kiss another man on the lips to complete the illusion of his undercover identity…now that, men, is a true officer! I hope you all strive to be like Hiwatari! Back to your posts!"

Dark will angst over unrequited love:

Krad perked up at this, "Now that brings up an interesting point… Why did you refrain from directly aiding that boy in breaking us up?" He stood and paced in thought, "I'm sure he must have all but ordered you to provide some insight into just how to keep me from bothering Satoshi-sama…"

Dark ducked his head, distracted. "I just…wanted to see…"

Cocking an eyebrow, Krad was not about to be put off, and crossed his arms, pressing, "See what?"

"If…if it could really work…you know, a curse…and a host…"

Krad stopped his pacing, arms falling back to his sides—of all the responses Dark might have offered, and no matter how much he'd teased the thief about it…he hadn't seriously thought Dark would respond that way. He quickly regained his composure, though; no matter their temporary truce now, he would not lose face. Fighting back a sneer, he replied curtly, "Well, when I have an answer, believe me—you'll be the first to know."

And the boys will celebrate belatedly at the Sapporo Snow Festival!

As Krad's golden voice died away, its dulcet tones still echoing off the walls of the small room, Satoshi repressed a shudder, breath coming in short gasps. "Gods…" he breathed softly, clinging to the blond like a life raft, barely even able to support his own weight, "If you make love like you sing…I'll never be able to walk again…"

So, can't wait? Good! Neither can I! Feel free to leave your emails or whatnot if you'd like to be kept abreast of the progress of this omake (which is more like a sequal, but I'm so used to calling it an omake, I just can't help it!). Until then, thanks for your readership!