TITLE: Snapshots

AUTHOR: Macx and Lara Bee

DISCLAIMER: Not ours. Darn it!

Author's Voice of Warning (aka Author's Note):
English is not our first language; it's German. This is the best we can do. Any mistakes you find in here, collect them and you might win a prize g> The spell-checker said everything's okay, but you know how trustworthy those thingies are...

ARCHIVE: yes

WARNINGS: none

TYPE: yaoi

RATING: M to mild MA

PAIRING: Daisuke/Satoshi, Dark/Krad

FEEDBACK: empty inbox seeks emails g>

As the title suggests, these are longer or shorter ficlets, all together in one big file. They're from all over the Balance series, little moments in time. They span a time from before Balance to after Hel(l).
Enjoy!

I. Body and Soul

Dark pulled a feather and concentrated. He felt his magic flow, concentrate in the single object he held between his thumb and forefinger. It glowed an eerie purple, leeching power out of his body and that of his host.

The Hajar moved, yellow eyes narrowing as it took in Dark, then the wide maw opened and it bellowed a challenge.

Across the distance of the yard Krad had copied Dark's move, now holding a purely white feather that began to glow golden as he, too, pulled energy out of his host. His large wings were open, spread out behind the tall, slender form, and Dark mirrored the move. His own wings were pitch black, a total opposite to his lover's silvery whiteness.

Magic gathered.

Magic whipped and crackled around them.

The Hajar roared another challenge and suddenly lashed out at Dark, the tentacles at each side of its twisted form hissing toward the kaitou. There was a resounding crack as they connected with the shield around him and Dark smiled in satisfaction. He staggered only a little.

°Brute force° he tsked.

°He's strong° Daisuke warned, watching the beginning battle from the back of Dark's mind.

°Yeah, but he's got no brain. All we have to do is keep him in place and let your Mom and Daikii work the trick. Easy °

Flinging the feather at the opponent, watching Krad do the same, he launched himself out of the way of a new attack that split the ground where he had stood. The feathers connected with the massive creature – and dissolved. The Hajar screamed in rage and pain and whirled around, lashing out at his winged attackers. Dark evaded easily and Krad had no problems either.

°Any minute now...° he murmured, waiting for his magical stun spell to work.

It didn't.

If at all, the Hajar was even more angry and it demonstrated that anger by concentrating its full fury on Krad.

"No!" Dark screamed as the white-winged demon was clipped and tumbled out of control.

Krad caught himself, but barely in time as the Hajar lumbered after him, snapping at the demon.

°Why isn't he affected?° Daisuke cried in horror as Dark flung several more feathers at the creature.

It bellowed and let up on Krad, lunging at the black-winged attacker.

°It's slower than before, but it should be out cold!° Dark yelled.

°You need a stronger blast!°

The kaitou stared at his Tamer, at the representation of the one being whose safety went above everything else.

°Daisuke, I can't draw more! °

The Hajar attacked, he evaded.

°You can and you once did so already. Do it, Dark!°

°But... Dai...°

°It's the only chance we have! °

Dark gained height to evade the lashing tentacles and suddenly found Krad by his side. The golden eyes held a serious expression.

"I suspect our hosts had the same idea," he remarked, glancing down at the raging beast.

"Yeah," Dark murmured.

He felt Daisuke's reassuring presence and while it was true that he had pulled a lot of energy from his Tamer before, he knew they needed quite a bit more now.

°Dark... do it...°

"You both ready?" he asked out aloud, looking at his counter part.

Krad nodded, face set. He pulled a feather; Dark did the same.

"Let's catch the beast," the demon only said levelly.

And they went into battle.

Dark knew he was pulling energy at a rate that was above and beyond what he had ever done to any of his hosts before. Granted, Daisuke had been the first and only host he had truly depleted once before, fighting against that thing that had reawakened them after he and Krad had been banished into the Black Wings once more. Back then he had catapulted Daisuke into unconsciousness.

Now...

Now he was pulling more and more, trying to ignore the warning signs of his host's deteriorating state. Daisuke was a lot stronger than the fourteen year old boy he had been when they had first met. He was older now, more resilient, and he had been in battle with Dark time and again. Their relationship had basically been strengthened throughout those fights and their time together. They had grown, become more...

... and Dark was taking everything of that increased strength. Every little kernel of life energy he could find. Everything Daisuke could give. And even more than that.

A scream of pain echoed through the mind plane and Dark winced, trying to tune out the sounds of suffering. It was hard to do so because Daisuke's whimpers and cries were stabbing at his heart. He was killing his host to banish the most dangerous piece of art ever to cross their path.

The Hajar was by now almost frozen in place, almost immobile, but still dangerous. One false step and it might break free. Across the yard Dark could sense Krad. He was flooding the Hajar with massive magical energy nets, mirroring Dark's own output.

Soon...

Just a little bit longer...

And with a final grunt the Hajar succumbed.

Nothing moved.

No one breathed.

Dark felt Emiko's chant, Daikii's presence in the background, but he didn't dare twitch a muscle. Eyes closed, wings curled like a shield, concentrating only one sustaining the immobilization of their foe, he could have been a statue.

°Hold on, Dai. Just a little bit longer° he whispered... pleaded... begged.

His host was wavering, moaning softly as more and more knives sliced at his very soul to find more energy.

°Dai...°

And then Emiko's chant stopped. Silence settled.

Magic settled.

Magic evaporated with a rush.

Dark was momentarily blinded, then his senses registered the fading presence of his host and friend.

°Daisuke!°

He lunged for the soul of his Tamer, grabbed it, wrapped himself around the weakly flickering light – and the world stopped to exist.

° ° °

The world's existence snapped back into place from one second to the next. There was no period of murky dizziness, of wondering who he was, where he was and what had happened.

Krad knew exactly who he was, knew where he was, and he knew what had happened. The only question was...

:Satoshi:

There was no answer and he cast an almost panicked look around for his host. There, in the distance, the amber light of his mind and soul pulsed. It looked weak, more a pale orange than a strong amber.

:Satoshi:

There was no reaction and he moved in closer, careful as not to hurt him, but Krad sensed no pulses, just the depth of unconsciousness. He checked Satoshi's condition and flinched away in horror. What he saw was the weakest of threads only, a barely conscious effort to cling to life. While there were no physical wounds, Satoshi's soul had been almost dried up from his leeching, from the magic he had wielded, and the young man had fled into the darkness where nothing could hurt to escape the torture of the searing magic his symbiote had wielded.

:Sato: Krad moaned helplessly and curled around the weak spark. :Forgive me:

He enveloped his host tightly, held on and stroked, caressed and spoke softly to the weak presence. It was all he could do at the moment.

° ° °

Krad didn't know how much time had passed, but he became aware of another presence. It was familiar, warm and radiated energy. He turned, still holding the resting Satoshi protectively, and almost cried out in relief to see that it was Dark. His other half was reaching out for him and Krad did the same, stretching himself thin to keep in contact with Satoshi.

There was a subtle shift, then he was in the mind-realm both entities shared.

Dark looked bad. Pale, beat, hair hanging limply, the slender frame thinner than Krad remembered. The demon knew he probably looked the same and he felt like it, too. Dark was sitting on the ground, holding someone in his arms, and Krad discovered that it was Daisuke. The young man looked haggard, with dark shadows like bruises under his eyes, cheeks hollow, the hair messy and unkempt. His brown eyes were closed and he looked like he was sleeping.

"Dark?" he whispered.

Violet eyes, tired, displaying exhaustion, met his dull golden ones, and a smile stole across the pale lips of the kaitou.

"Hey. You and Satoshi okay?"

Krad's eyes followed the hands gently caressing the sleeping Niwa and he nodded automatically.

"It'll take a while for them to recover," the other went on, almost like talking to himself. "I drew so much. Almost too much. He trusted me, Krad. He trusted me to keep him alive and I tried. I tried so hard not to deplete him but the Hajar was so strong..."

Krad sank to his knees beside his distraught mirror image. Large, violet eyes gazed at him, despair and such bone-deep weariness reflected in there that Krad could only stare.

"I did the same," he murmured.

He was still aware of Satoshi, but he was so far away and instinct told him to be with his host. The same instinct let him act as he, instead of leaving, simply pulled Satoshi to him until he had him in his arms like Dark had Daisuke. Pale as a sheet, looking so vulnerable and thin, the dark blond hair streaked with sweat... so unlike the vibrant soul he had finally gotten to know ever since his return.

"They're safe," Dark whispered, huddling closer to the demon and Krad let him, needing the reassurance of the kaitou alive and as well as could be.

"Yes," Krad answered softly. "They are."

They simply sat together, resting, regenerating, as their hosts slept unaware of the union of soul minds inside a shared realm.

Dark nodded off after a while, still curled protectively close to Daisuke, and Krad followed him soon, holding the same position. Neither was able to defend the two humans if there was a serious attack, but they would try, and die if they had to to insure that both men lived.

° ° °

Satoshi opened his eyes to the sight of his guardian angel curled up around him. White feathers were everywhere. Soft and warm and like silk against his skin. They folded him into a cocoon of safety, alive and filled with protective magic.

He smiled a little to himself, feeling the slender form of Krad molded against his own body. Strong arms held him, unwilling to let go, and he sank into that safety net.

Everything was alright.

The battle was over and he just knew they had won.

"Sato?"

It was a soft whisper of a gentle tenor against his ear.

"'M okay," he mumbled, not strong enough for more. "Just tired."

"Then sleep. I've got you."

Satoshi closed his eyes, trusting his demon implicitly. Yes, Krad got him. For good, for keeps, and he felt the same about the symbiote.

end of this ficlet

to be continued