The roaring and crashing of the waves masked the crunch of Dark's footsteps as he walked along the shore, his bare feet leaving prints in the sand which were quickly washed away by the rising tide. His shoes dangled from one hand, the thumb of his other hooked loosely in a back belt-loop as he walked. His eyes were half-closed as though on the verge of sleep, shadows falling over a face void of expression. Blank, perhaps because he was drifting through memories that were best forgotten.The sky was nearly black, hanging like heavy velvet above him, the stars resembling holes through which sunlight was trying to escape. The lights of the city and moon were wan, as if they were dimmed somehow and he was separated from the rest of the world. His pace was slow, and he showed no signs of acknowledging the biting chill of the water. If it hadn't been so wet, he could have imagined he was walking through snow on a dark night.
If only I were walking with you, he thought, letting his shoes slip from his fingers to land with a soft thud in the sand. He dropped down next to them, not caring that the waves rushed up to soak his pants. Propping a leg up, he rested his chin on his knee and glanced up at the sky in silence.
The silent half-moon reflected off his skin, casting a gentle glow over him that was enhanced by the tangible humidity of the ocean's spray. Darkened almost-violet eyes scanned the shore while the wind mussed his hair, tempting him to tilt his face into it, even though the gentle gales cut straight to his soul.
Hadn't she always been the one to speak of the wind as freed spirits, rushing across the earth in search of loved ones they'd left behind? Had her soul become part of the wind like she believed? Was she here with him now, swirling around him in an intangible form he couldn't see or grasp?
"Are you there, Rika...?" he asked softly, a sad, hollow smile curving his lips. He closed his eyes, imagining the light touch of the air was her fingers gently caressing his skin instead. How it hurt, to know he would never be able to hold those slender fingers in his own again, or see her gentle smile, or hear her delighted laugh. Gone forever was her calm presence, and the world was such a darker place without it.
The burden of Fate seemed so much heavier when the things worth fighting for seemed to be winking out of existence one by one.
But at least he still had Daisuke. His Daisuke.
The thought caused a quiet chuckle to escape him, lips twitching slightly into a truer smile. It was probably a good thing the boy was still sound asleep, or he would be getting an earful for thinking that. But it was true. Out of all the Niwas he had been a part of, Daisuke was the most like him. The boy had a wild spirit that couldn't be tamed and he was passionate about life. He had an unconscious hunger for it that couldn't be satiated, burning at the base of whatever he did.
It was something Dark had been yearning to see for a long time now. Something he had yearned to see in the blood he shared, because only then could he feel he could truly accept the path Fate had laid out for him. And then, as if in answer to that wish, Daisuke had been born. When the baby had been placed in Emiko's arms, safe and sound asleep with his wild, rusty-brown hair plastered over his small head, Dark had instinctively known he was the one.
And then, so slowly, his eyes had blinked open and seemed to move naturally to where Dark had been standing. Two pairs of the same eyes had each looked into the other, and Dark had known the time had finally come. Perhaps he had even known before that Emiko's son would be like her – strong-willed and stubborn. With his incorporeal form standing next to the woman who had so determinedly called to him from the shadows, demanding he show himself to her, he had wondered then if she might have been the one had she been a boy.
"My sweet little Emiko..." he said quietly. "How brave you were. You had the fire but not the DNA. Did you hear me when I answered? Could you possibly have heard me telling you to have a son so I could see you face to face?" he wondered aloud. The thief sighed softly and raised his left hand, burying his long fingers in the dark strands of his hair. He gave a quick flick of his right hand and a black feather seemed to materialise out of the night air. He twirled it between his fingers, staring at it silently before closing his eyes again and letting his head fall forward.
"You look like you're in pain."
Dark's eyes snapped open at the quiet, calm voice, and he cursed inwardly for being so absentminded that he had missed the sound of approaching footsteps. He jerked his head up to see a shadowed form in front of him, clouds having drifted over the face of the moon to block out its light, but he had recognised that voice. How could he ever forget the voice of his enemy's host? His eyes narrowed in anger and resentment towards the boy – anger because Satoshi wanted what wasn't his and resentment because, once Dark was gone, there wouldn't be anything or anyone to keep the Hikari from getting what he wanted.
"Did the demon inside of you send you here?" he asked coldly.
"Hardly. I was taking a walk and saw you."
"So you decided to play Good Samaritan? Afraid Krad would go crazy without another chance to kill me, is that it?" Dark asked dryly.
"More or less, though he's already crazy," Satoshi replied carelessly, an almost imperceptible edge entering his voice at that name.
Thin lips curved into a grim smile as he took in the boy's stance: arms crossed over his chest and an unconscious, haughty presence about him as he looked down at the thief, his eyes unobstructed for once. The absence of the glasses always seemed to add a certain sense of power to the boy, as if he had somehow reclaimed what the Hikari should have been.
Too little, too late, he thought. Daisuke's the same sometimes...
Dark had said before that Satoshi and Daisuke were alike, and he regretted that now since that meant he and Satoshi were alike as well. "You're out rather late," he finally stated.
"So are you," was the relentless response.
Dark stared at the boy calmly for a long moment, idly twirling the feather between his fingers. "Did you need something? Or have you come to finally arrest me, Commander?" he asked sarcastically, resting one of his wrists atop the other and holding them in the air before him in mock-surrender. He didn't expect Satoshi to say yes in the least, the kid seemed much too honourable for his own good, but one could never be too sure with a Hikari – especially one who housed Krad.
He had learned that little life lesson the hard way.
Something akin to uncertainty flickered in the artist's eyes, but perhaps it had only been a trick of the half-light. "I'm not here to arrest you," he said simply.
"Then what are you here for?" Dark demanded, letting his hands fall back to his lap. The thief really was in no mood to deal with nonsense at the moment.
Satoshi dropped his arms to his sides and slipped his hands into his pockets, tilting his head to study the moon in silence. Hanging as it was against the backdrop of the night sky, clouds drifting across it and pinpoints of distant stars scattered around it, he couldn't stop the itch of his fingers to put it on canvas. He knew he could capture the feeling perfectly, the deep silence, the tranquility, but at what price? How many would potentially suffer from his art? Even if he tried to keep his Hikari powers from surfacing, he knew some remnants of magic would make their way into his work.
"We both know there's not much time left," he finally said, the churning of the waves echoing behind his words.
The spinning motions of the black feather stopped; now only the wind manipulated it, causing it to sway to and fro. "Gloating because I won't be around much longer?" Dark asked, an edge to his voice.
The shorter male tilted his head again and turned to meet his arch-rival's gaze. "Perhaps indirectly," he admitted.
"Just don't get any ideas. He's still mine as long as I'm around," Dark growled, tightening his fingers around the feather, bending the end of the quill and crumpling the soft plumes around it.
Satoshi's lips formed into a wry smile, his eyes darkening. "You don't have to worry about that," he said simply. Perhaps if Krad had not been a part of him he would have dared to dream of such a thing, but, as it was, he dismissed Dark's words before they'd fully settled in his mind, lest they stir the sleeping emotions in him he couldn't control. As it was, he couldn't afford to let himself believe anything like that was possible.
They stared at each other in silence, each resenting the other. Maybe at one point they had wished to have never been entangled in the threads of Fate the Hikari and Niwa ancestors knotted together in the beginning – threads that had been woven, twisted, snapped, fixed again and again, and were soon to be tied forever in completion; could it be done right this time? Maybe at one point, far in the past, now forgotten, because what did wishing really get anyone?
Slender fingers slowly relaxed and idly straightened out the feather, a soft sigh escaping the thief's lips. Dark was dimly aware of standing and closing the distance between them, but he didn't fully notice until they were standing face to face and he was looking down at the artist instead of up. He struggled to hold onto his anger as he studied Satoshi – a boy who wanted to put things to rest once and for all, a boy fighting against the web he was trapped in, just like Daisuke.
Who could blame Satoshi for wanting to end the suffering? He was the last of his family; a family that had once been so powerful, but even now he was paying for their biggest mistake. Unlike Daisuke, he was scarred, scared of what could happen if this continued for any more generations. Who could blame him for wanting peace after so long?
Dark couldn't; not if he wanted to keep his dignity. But that didn't mean he had to like that Satoshi would be near his Daisuke when he was gone. Even as he thought that, he realised – reluctantly - it was probably for the best. Dark knew Daisuke well enough to know that the separation would leave the boy lost and confused, and he would need someone near him who understood what he was going through. What he had been through.
"You had better live through this." Those words took everything Dark had to say, and the threat in his voice sliced the silence between them.
Satoshi's eyebrow twitched faintly, a questioning arc to it as he stared back. He knew what Dark was suggesting; the other male's thoughts were clearly visible in his eyes. "He'll heal," he replied quietly with a light shrug, making no promises.
Dark's eyes narrowed, his anger flaring up again as his lips curled into a sneer. How dare he – a Hikari – be so nonchalant towards the Phantom Thief Dark? They were talking about Daisuke. And here Dark had been sure Satoshi would have jumped on the opportunity.
Maybe he had. Satoshi's eyes had darkened to almost black, and there was a decidedly guarded expression to them Dark couldn't quite interpret, but it could have been just a trick of the light.
And here Dark had always prided himself on being so observant. He could hardly imagine what it would be like to have to always guard your thoughts, even from yourself. Knowing that Krad was always listening, waiting for an opportunity to sink his teeth in, Satoshi really had no other choice if he wanted to live – even if it was a cruel mockery of a normal life.
Dark felt his anger evaporating like the sea mist, turning into more of a dull sorrow for the boy. He was strong-willed and stubborn, just like Emiko, just like Daisuke. Just like himself. The artist's spirit may not have been wild, but it burned steadily, fiercely – like a candle reaching the end of its wick.
Perhaps it was the soft moonlight, highlighting Satoshi's face in just the right way to make him look more innocent than he really was, or maybe it was the sorrow Dark felt for the other male, for what he'd had to live with. Maybe it was just that he'd never dealt with things in any other way, or it could have been the close proximity of Krad, calling out to him like always. Whatever the reason, Dark found their faces slowly inching closer and closer together, until warm lips brushed against warm lips and slender hands slid up to cup a slender face.
Satoshi was hardly prepared to find Dark kissing him, and he raised his hands to the thief's arms to shove him away. He found his eyes captured by Dark's before he could gather his strength though, and he found himself clenching his fingers into the light material of the man's shirt instead. Warmth spread through him like light as the thief's mouth moved slowly over his own. His lips parted on a silent gasp as a moist tongue brushed against them, a subtle sensation like an electric shock sizzling down his spine.
Dark definitely knew how to kiss. That was becoming increasingly more obvious as Satoshi quickly found his entire body over-sensitized. Light touches of fingertips brushed against his neck and he shivered in response, not taking his eyes off Dark's. It was a struggle to not close his eyes and let himself imagine it was Daisuke's lips on his own instead – there really was no telling what would happen then.
Slowly, the artist became aware of an anger burning in the pit of his stomach, and he shuddered at the intensity of it. Krad was not happy in the least, and Satoshi could feel his seething anger roiling across the link they shared. His deceptively fragile-looking fingers tightened on Dark's arms, the only thing he could do since he still seemed unable to summon enough strength to move away.
Dark knew – had to have known, being as close to Krad as he was – but he showed no signs of pulling away. His hands slid down to Satoshi's hips instead, leaving a trail of tingling skin in their wake as he closed his eyes. A talented tongue pushed past the artist's lips, devouring his mouth as a firm tug had their bodies pressing against each other.
He had his pride as the Phantom Thief, but he had his pride in being talented and irresistible as well, and he would have Satoshi respond to his kisses whether Krad liked it or not. His tongue pressed lightly against the shorter male's, lightly massaging the tense muscles of Satoshi's back with his fingers as he let his body shift in a decidedly suggestive manner. He was rewarded with an added weight against his chest as the artist's legs presumably gave out on him.
Satoshi's eyes drifted shut against his will and he found his whole consciousness focusing on Dark; everything else slipped from his mind, dismissed as inconsequential. Even Krad's anger faded to a dull throb in the back of his head. He was sure he would regret that later, but for the moment he couldn't care less. Physical contact was not something he'd ever allowed himself, and while he wasn't exactly soaking up the attention, it was a pleasant contrast to everything else he'd ever known.
The artist's fingers slowly loosened from their death-grip on Dark, a soft moan escaping his throat - more a release of tension than anything. He didn't resist when his hands were guided to Dark's shoulders. They rested there a moment before they were inevitably drawn to dark hair that was coarser than he'd imagined. Not unpleasantly harsh, but not baby soft either. It suited the young man well.
Dark finally drew back after a long while and looked down at Satoshi with half-lidded eyes, feeling rather smug at the sight of faintly swollen lips. He found himself capturing them again, grazing his teeth over the lower one and suckling lightly as his hands skimmed the boy's back and sides.
"You're too good at that," Satoshi breathed unconsciously, a tremor coursing through his body at the sensations.
An amused chuckle sounded from Dark's lips and he rested their foreheads together, raising the feather to brush against the other male's cheek. Satoshi's eyes, darker than normal, fluttered open to meet his own. "I'll take that as a compliment," he replied quietly, tracing the tip of the black plume against the artist's lips.
Silence settled over them once again, the taller male supporting the shorter until he recovered his senses and balance. The rising tide rushed up to meet them, drenching the bottom of their pant-legs and pulling the sand from beneath their feet as the wave receded.
"We're going to sink if we stand here much longer," Satoshi murmured. Funny how his brain seemed to be trying to kick-start itself and was failing miserably.
"That's fine. I'll dig us out if we sink too far."
The police commander's lips twitched into a faint frown and he pulled back, his guarded expression and defenses back in place as he met Dark's eyes. He was becoming aware of Krad's livid state once more and he figured it was best for him to leave now, before anything could happen, but his hands seemed strangely unwilling to untangle themselves from the other male's hair.
Dark smirked faintly, a hint of sadness to it as he regarded Satoshi in silence. "You're not half-bad," he murmured quietly, before his image faded to be replaced by a half-asleep Daisuke.
Satoshi suddenly found himself becoming the supporter instead of the supported as the younger boy collapsed against him, muttering something unintelligible under his breath. He glanced at the top of Daisuke's head, at his fingers that were buried in the decidedly softer hair, and sighed softly. Part of him was annoyed at Dark skipping out like that and the other was struggling to not react to having Daisuke's slighter weight suddenly leaning against him.
"'s cold..." the redhead complained, rousing a bit from his sleep as another wave crashed against them. "Stop hogging the blankets, Wiz..." He pressed his face into Satoshi's shoulder for a moment before finally pulling back to see what he was leaning against, blinking sleepily at the taller boy in confusion. "Hiwatari-kun? What's going on?" he asked with a yawn.
"Looks like Dark abandoned you here." Slim arms dropped down to guide Daisuke out of reach of the water, moving toward the shoes that were now half-buried in the sand and bending down to pluck them up. That turned out to have been a bad idea, as the young thief suddenly found his balance thrown off and he toppled to the ground, pulling Satoshi down after him.
Daisuke blinked up with a sheepish grin. "Sorry," he said, attempting to sit up and bumping his head against Satoshi's when the other boy didn't move. He winced and reached a hand up to rub at his faintly throbbing forehead, his question of what was wrong dying in his throat as he met his friend's gaze.
Satoshi's breath stopped for just a moment, his chest aching at the sight of moonlight dancing over Daisuke's features. The boy was truly a living piece of art; the Phantom Thief had every right to be possessive of him. His eyes flicked to Daisuke's lips, his own still tingling at the memory of Dark's kiss.
"Hiwatari-kun? You look... hungry..." the younger male offered quietly, watching his companion curiously.
"Maybe," Satoshi agreed, meeting Daisuke's eyes again before he was leaning forward and pressing their lips together. A muffled 'mmph' was his only response, as the arm that had been keeping Daisuke partially upright suddenly went limp. The younger boy fell back onto the sand, Satoshi a firm weight on his chest when he refused to let the contact of their lips be broken. The artist found himself kissing Daisuke with more passion than he'd thought possible, greedily taking what he could as he rested a palm against the other boy's cheek.
He knew, somehow, that this was the only chance he'd have to show Daisuke his true feelings, whether the boy understood them or not. When he finally pulled back, the young thief's eyes were unfocused and he seemed to be struggling to regain his breath.
Reaching for the forgotten shoes, he set them lightly on the ground next to Daisuke. "Tell Dark I said he'd better get you home safely," he murmured quietly as he pulled back, a hint of pain in his voice that went unnoticed by the disorientated redhead. He pushed himself to his feet and turned, brushing sand from his person as he walked away, not daring to look back; it was already a struggle just to keep Krad at bay, and he wanted to be far away from Daisuke when he finally lost the battle.
"I'll kill him. I'll kill them both," Krad promised pleasantly, fury underlying his words. He didn't seem to care in the least that Satoshi was ignoring him, merely waiting for the boy to finally give up the fight. He'd been patient this long, he could wait a bit longer to settle the score with Dark Mousy for touching what wasn't his.
On the beach, Daisuke continued staring at the sky blankly. The only conscious thought he had was that Satoshi had kissed him, and it was running nice little circles around his mind. He decided that explained why he was feeling dizzy and the general feeling of wanting to pass out.
He raised a hand to his lips and brushed his fingers against them, blinking as he felt something soft brush against his cheek. What was he doing holding one of Dark's feathers? He studied it silently, noting the bent quill and rumpled barbs around it.
"Dark..?" he asked quietly, hardly expecting a response from the thief, but he had to try. He shifted. The sand felt cold and damp, and only then did he realise his other hand was buried in it. What was he doing on the beach in the middle of the night? Being kissed by Satoshi, apparently, his thoughts answered. He felt his face heating up as that fact finally sank in.
Satoshi had kissed him. Surely the boy had only been drunk? Daisuke highly doubted that as Satoshi just didn't seem like the type to drink, but what did he know? He'd just been kissed by a boy.
"AAARGH! Dark this is all your fault, I just know it!" he cried, crushing the heels of his palms against his eyes and rubbing hard.
"Get up, Daisuke," Dark urged from the back of his mind, and the boy found that was the only incentive he needed to snap him out of his still rather dazed state. He struggled into a standing position and picked up the shoes next to him, looking around for Satoshi and finding he was long gone. For some reason, that disappointed him.
"He kissed me..." he muttered to himself, too distracted to really notice Dark's determined silence. He raised a hand to his lips; they were still tingling. He sighed quietly and trudged up the beach to head home, the memory of Satoshi's kiss lingering in the back of his mind.